He Took Our Infirmaties & Bare Our Sicknesses
Jesus travels through Galilee teaching the gospel and performing miracles.
Jesus forgives a man's sins and heals the man of palsy.
Jesus calms the sea, casts out devils, and raises the son of the widow of Nain from the dead.
Jesus heals a woman with an issue of blood and raises Jairus's daughter from the dead.
A study of this lesson will help us understand some of the reasons the Savior performed miracles.
Scripture references for study: Mark 1–2; Mark 4:35–41; Mark 5; Luke 7:11–17
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 7 Handout (PDF format)
During his ministry, Jesus performed numerous miracles.
WHAT ARE MIRACLES?
Miracles defy full explanation.
They are manifestations of the power of God in the lives of men.
They seem to transcend natural laws, but are simply the manifestations of higher laws not generally known to mortal men.
They are one of the chief characteristics of true believers.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "In the broadest sense, miracles embrace all those events which are beyond the power of any presently known physical power to produce. They are occurrences which deviate from the known laws of nature and which transcend our knowledge of those laws....
"But in the gospel sense, miracles are those occurrences wrought by the power of God which are wholly beyond the power of man to perform. Produced by a supernatural power, they are marvels, wonders, and signs, which cannot be duplicated by man's present powers or by any powers which he can obtain by scientific advancements. Miracles in the gospel sense are gifts of the Spirit; they take place when the Lord on his own motion manifests his powers or when man by faith prevails upon Deity to perform supernatural events." (Mormon Doctrine, p506)
Elder James E. Talmage: "Miracles cannot be in contravention of natural law, but are wrought through the operation of laws not universally or commonly recognized....
"In the contemplation of the miracles wrought by Christ, we must of necessity recognize the operation of a power transcending our present human understanding. In this field, science has not yet advanced far enough to analyze and explain. To deny the actuality of miracles on the ground that, because we cannot comprehend the means, the reported results are fictitious, is to arrogate to the human mind the attribute of omniscience, by implying that what man cannot comprehend cannot be, and that therefore he is able to comprehend all that is." (Jesus the Christ, p148)
WHAT TYPES OF MIRACLES ARE THERE?
Enoch and the brother of Jared had the faith to change the course of rivers and move mountains.
Moses parted the Red Sea.
Joshua stopped the sun in its course.
Elijah called down fire to destroy his enemies.
Physical healings by Christ.
Feeding of the multitudes.
The calming of a storm
The resurrection of Christ.
Some latter-day miracles:
Joseph Smith casts out an evil spirit.
Healing of many Saints on the banks of the Mississippi.
Joseph saved from poisoning.
The appearance of quail to save starving Saints.
The seagulls and crickets.
Miracles in the lives of the faithful members of the Church.
WHY DID JESUS PERFORM HEALINGS AND OTHER MIRACLES DURING HIS MINISTRY?
To fulfill prophecy:
"...he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses" (Matthew 8:16-17).
To reveal his authority to the people:
"And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him" (Mark 1:27-28).
Out of love and compassion for the people:
"And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean" (Mark 1:41).
To build and confirm faith:
"Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you" (Matthew 9:29).
To display the power of redemption:
"...that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins" (Mark 2:10).
To show the power of God:
"Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him" (John 3:2).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "And it also scarce needs stating, so obvious is the fact, that the Son of God in his mortal ministry, sent as he was to labor among men and to save that which was lost, was destined to perform more miracles and work more wonders than any of the prophets who went before or who shall come after. In this, as in all things, he is the pattern." (Mortal Messiah, 1:448)
As we discuss the miracles of Jesus in this lesson and in the weeks to come, consider this thought from Elder McConkie: "We have little conception of the number of healings Jesus wrought. Multitudes thronged his way day after day, bringing their diseased and deformed, their lame and decrepit, their deaf and their blind. All these were healed as faith and desire warranted. Even their dead were subject to Jesus' will.
"No attempt is made by the Gospel authors to record Jesus' many miracles. Only selected samples are set forth in the scriptures. The obvious plan of the inspired authors is to preserve illustrations of his purposes and powers, and surely the wide variety of healings and miraculous performances that they chose to record do attest to his power and control over all things." (Mortal Messiah, 2:36)
The Miracles Of Jesus Christ
READ MARK 1:21-27. Jesus casts out an unclean spirit.
WHY WERE THE PEOPLE AMAZED AT JESUS' TEACHING AND HIS ABILITY TO CAST OUT UNCLEAN SPIRITS?
The people were accustomed to their teachers and scribes. They did not have the authority to cast out unclean spirits or perform miracles. When they saw this greater teacher come among them and perform that which had not been performed in Israel in generations, they were amazed.
BY WHAT AUTHORITY DID JESUS TEACH AND PERFORM MIRACLES?
By the authority of the priesthood, which the scribes did not have.
Elder James E. Talmage: "A striking characteristic of Christ's ministry was the entire absence of any claim of human authorization for His words or deeds; the commission He professed to have was that of the Father who sent Him." (Jesus The Christ, p249)
READ MARK 1:40-42. Jesus heals a leper.
WHY DID JESUS HEAL THE LEPER?
He was "moved with compassion" (v41).
This verse says a great deal about the Lord. He feels the agony and humiliation that this leper has felt and simply wants to ease the burden.
HOW CAN WE SHOW CHRIST LIKE LOVE AND COMPASSION FOR THOSE AROUND US?
HOW HAVE OTHER PEOPLE SHOWN CHRIST LIKE LOVE AND COMPASSION FOR YOU?
READ MARK 2:1-12. Healing of a man with palsy.
WHAT WAS AN IMPORTANT INGREDIENT IN THE HEALING OF THIS MAN?
The faith of others. They believed enough to take the man with palsy to the Lord. Because of the crowd, it was necessary for them to use extraordinary measures to get their friend to Jesus.
HOW CAN WE EXERCISE FAITH IN BEHALF OF OTHERS?
We have all had the experience of fasting and praying in behalf of family or friends who are ill. Alma exercised faith in behalf of his son. Recall the words of the angel when he appeared to Alma, "And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith" (Mosiah 27:14).
As James taught, "faith without works is dead" (James 2:20). Our faith is made effectual by our righteousness. Such was the case with Alma when he prayed for his son. He was actively serving the Lord and keeping the commandments. As we strive to do the will of the Lord, we are giving life to our faith.
WHAT DID SOME OF THE SCRIBES THINK WHEN JESUS TOLD THE MAN WITH PALSY THAT HIS SINS WERE FORGIVEN?
"But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?" (Mark 2:6-7)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "Jesus has forgiven a man's sins. Luke's account puts the blessed words in the present tense: 'Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.' Immediately rebellion wells up in the hearts of the ever-present rebels. 'Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies?' they think. 'Who can forgive sins but God only?'
"In part, their thinking is correct. None but God can forgive sins, and if this man is not God, then the words he has spoken are blasphemy, and according to divine law, the penalty for such is death. If, however, this man is the Messiah, then the prerogative he has assumed is proper, and it is within his province to loose on earth and have it loosed eternally in the heavens. Messiah can forgive sins because Messiah is God." (Mortal Messiah 2:50)
HOW DID JESUS RESPOND?
"...that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house." (Mark 2:10-11)
Which is the greater miracle, to be healed of a physical affliction or have one's sins forgiven?
Elder James E. Talmage: "According to one of the accounts, the Lord's first words to the afflicted one were: 'Son, be of good cheer'; followed directly by the comforting and authoritative assurance: 'Thy sins be forgiven thee.' The man was probably in a state of fear; he may have known that his ailment was the result of wicked indulgences; nevertheless, though he may have considered the possibility of hearing only condemnation for his transgression, he had faith to be brought. In this man's condition there was plainly a close connection between his past sins and his present affliction; and in this particular his case is not unique, for we read that Christ admonished another, whom He healed, to sin no more lest a worse thing befall him." (Jesus the Christ, p192)
HOW HAS JESUS' HEALING POWER BLESSED YOU SPIRITUALLY? HOW CAN WE SEEK SPIRITUAL HEALING?
READ MARK 4:35-41. Calming of the storm at sea.
WHAT ROLE DID FAITH HAVE IN THIS MIRACLE?
The Master asked, "Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?" But they did exercise their faith in the Lord, for they went to him and said, "Lord, save us: we perish" (Matthew 8:25). When we consider the response of his followers, they certainly did not expect the Lord to calm the storm, but they went to him believing that he could do something for them.
WHAT SPIRITUAL TRUTH MIGHT WE LEARN FROM THIS MIRACLE?
We have spiritual storms within our souls. Like his ancient apostles, we can look to the Master to calm our storms.
"And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes" (Mark 5:1).
Upon landing they were met by a man "with an unclean spirit" (Mark 5:2).
WHAT THEN HAPPENED?
See Mark 5:3-20.
WHAT SPIRITUAL TRUTH MIGHT WE LEARN FROM THIS MIRACLE?
If we come to the Savior, as did this man with an unclean spirit, he can cast the evil influence of Satan out of our lives.
READ MARK 5:25-34. A woman with an issue of blood is healed.
HOW DID THE WOMAN WITH AN ISSUE OF BLOOD SHOW HER FAITH?
Prior to the healing of the woman, Jairus, one of the rulers of the synagogue, came to Jesus and asked him to come and heal his daughter who was near the point of death (Mark 5:22-23).
READ MARK 5:35-43. The daughter of Jairus is raised from the dead.
HOW DID JAIRUS SHOW HIS FAITH IN THE SAVIOR?
This ruler of the synagogue was humble enough to approach the Master and request this great blessing.
Even when Jairus learned of the death of his daughter, he went with the Savior to his home. We do not hear a protest from Jairus saying that his daughter was dead. He returned to his home with the Master.
When Jairus learned of the death of his daughter, Jesus said "Be not afraid, only believe" (Mark 5:36).
HOW CAN WE APPLY THESE WORDS IN OUR LIFE?
Jairus was facing one of the greatest calamities in life, the death of a child. From time to time we face great challenges. It may have to do with our health or the health of a loved one, a spiritual challenge, the loss of income, or any number of other things. Such challenges may trouble our spirit and even cause fear. The Savior instructs us to believe. As we believe in him by giving heed to his words and turning to the Father in prayer, the Master can ease the fear and calm the tempest that rages within us.
"And Jesus went about all Galilee teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom; and healing all manner of sickness, and all manner of diseases among the people which believed on his name." (JST Matthew 4:23)
Miracles & Faith
WHY DO YOU THINK FAITH MUST PRECEDE MIRACLES?
"And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.
"For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.
"And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God." (Ether 12:6,12,18)
WHY DO MIRACLES CONTINUE IN THE CHURCH TODAY?
Miracles continue in the modern Church for the same reasons that Jesus performed them during his ministry. Miracles are a blessing for the believers.
"For I am God, and mine arm is not shortened; and I will show miracles, signs, and wonders, unto all those who believe on my name. And whoso shall ask it in my name in faith, they shall cast out devils; they shall heal the sick; they shall cause the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak, and the lame to walk." (D&C 35:8-9)
Brigham Young: "Miracles, or these extraordinary manifestations of the power of God, are not for the unbeliever; they are to console the Saints, and to strengthen and confirm the faith of those who love, fear, and serve God, and not for outsiders." (JD 12:95)
President Harold B. Lee: Harold B. Lee: "May I impose upon you for a moment to express appreciation for something that happened to me some time ago. I was suffering from an ulcer condition that was becoming worse and worse. We had been touring a mission; my wife, Joan, and I were impressed the next morning that we should get home as quickly as possible, although we had planned to stay for some other meetings.
"On the way across the country, we were sitting in the forward section of the airplane. Some of our Church members were in the next section of the airplane. As we approached a certain point en route, someone laid his hand upon my head. I looked up; I could see no one. That happened again before we arrived home, again with the same experience. Who it was, by what means or what medium, I may never know, except I knew that I was receiving a blessing that I came a few hours later to know I needed most desperately.
"As soon as we arrived home, my wife very anxiously called the doctor. It was now about 11 o'clock at night. He called me to come to the telephone, and he asked how I was; and I said, 'Well, I am very tired. I think I will be all right.' But shortly thereafter, there came massive hemorrhages which, had they occurred while we were in flight, I wouldn't be here today talking about it.
"I know that there are powers divine that reach out when all other help is not available. We see that manifest down in the countries we speak of as the underprivileged countries where there is little medical aid and perhaps no hospitals. If you want to hear of great miracles among these humble people with simple faith, you will see it among them when they are left to themselves. Yes, I know that there are such powers." (Stand Ye In Holy Places, p185-186)
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
One of the signs of the church of Christ is the presence of miracles. How blessed we are to have the restoration of the gospel and its attendant gifts. The Savior continues to heal, both physically and spiritually aswe have faith in him.
Master, the tempest is raging!
The billows are tossing high!
The sky is o'ershadowed with blackness.
No shelter or help is nigh.
Carest thou not that we perish?
How canst thou lie asleep
When each moment so madly is threat'ning
A grave in the angry deep?
The winds and the waves shall obey they will:
Peace, be still.
Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea
Or demons or men or whatever it be,
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean and earth and skies.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will:
Peace, be still; peace, be still.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will:
Peace, peace, be still.
Master, with anguish of spirit
I bow in my grief today.
The depths of my sad heart are troubled.
Oh, waken and save, I pray!
Torrents of sin and of anguish
Sweep o'er my sinking soul,
And I perish! I perish! dear Master.
Oh, hasten and take control!
Master, the terror is over.
The elements sweetly rest.
Earth's sun in the calm lake is mirrored,
And heaven's within my breast.
Linger, O blessed Redeemer!
Leave me alone no more,
And with joy I shall make the blest harbor
And rest on the blissful shore.
Record your thoughts on miracles and the miracles of Jesus. What lessons can you apply to your life?