If you’ve ever been in a severe thunderstorm you know how loud the claps of thunder can be…especially if a flash of lightning strikes very close by. This verse likens that deafening crash with the voice of God and His display of power…doing things far beyond the boundaries of human comprehension. This greatness of God that is too wonderful for us to understand is best summed up in Job 11:7-9 when they ask, “Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?” The answer is no…God’s power is outside the reach of our minds.
There was no denying it…all the people knew this beggar well. For he had been crippled from birth and for over forty years had been daily carried just outside the Temple gate to beg. But what was so shocking now was that they saw him leaping and running and giving God glory! He was the same man they had seen day after day…but now he was healed! Even the Rulers, Elders, and Teachers of the Law couldn’t refuse to believe that a miracle had happened…for it was kinda hard to do as the healed man stood there in front of them!
Peter sent the mourners and doubters out of the room much like Jesus did when He brought the dead little girl back to life in Matthew 9:25. Both didn’t allow negativity and unbelief to remain in the room. Nor did either permit skepticism and scoffing to change their confidence in what God could do. So what can we take from this when praying for someone seriously ill? First is to get rid of all distractions and those who can’t believe for a miracle. Instead, gather around those who have faith for a healing, (remember, it can be as small as a mustard seed). Next speak life and not death into the person and ask God to heal them. Finally, continue to speak life into the person and watch God work.
God is far beyond any boundaries of our minds, knowledge or expectations. As Job 5:9 tells us, “He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.” We’d have to then agree with Genesis 18:14 when it asks, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” The simple answer is, No…there’s nothing that’s impossible for God. For there’s not one thing He can’t do, change, fix, or accomplish according to His Will.
In the Hebrew, this sentence is only 5 words long. It doesn’t even mention God, nor did it call the people of Nineveh to repentance. So why did the Ninevites believe what Jonah warned them of? Jesus tells us in Luke 11:29-32 that the Ninevites had heard of Jonah’s miraculous deliverance from the belly of that fish and that they will, “stand up at the judgement with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.” The people of Nineveh heard and believed God…may this present generation do the same.
Have troubles gone beyond the bounds of your human strength…put your hope in the Lord. Have all your expectations, desires, and dreams crumbled before your eyes…put your hope in the Lord. Are you in the middle of an impossible situation with no seemingly way out…put your hope in the Lord. For God can perform wonders that cannot be fathomed and miracles that cannot be counted. (Job 5:9) He is the God of the unattainable, the unsolvable, and the hopeless…for He is the God of the impossible, and nothing is too hard for Him. (Genesis 18:14)
Jesus had just offered the Samaritan woman Living Water, but by her observation…He had no means of drawing water from Jacob’s well. We seem to quickly revert back to our humanness anytime we doubt that Jesus can really do what He says. We question if He’s in touch with reality or even realizes the gravity of our circumstances. Subjectively, our biased opinion says, “I can’t see how You can possibly do this Lord.” But if we put aside our humanness and instead take Jesus at His word…miracles will happen.
Earlier in the day, Paul and Silas had been stripped, severely flogged and then thrown into prison. So we now find them hours later holding their own praise and worship service to a rather captive audience of fellow prisoners and guards. They could have wallowed in their sorrow and pain, but instead chose to worship God. When we praise God in the midst of impossible situations, the atmosphere changes and with it, our attitude. Our eyes are taken off the incurable, the grief-stricken, the hopeless dilemma…and allows God to work in miraculous ways. It says here that the earthquake caused all the prison doors to open…not just the one to Paul and Silas’s cell, and that everybody’s chains came off…not just theirs. When our focus is on praise rather than on self-pity, everyone around us will be blessed.
Jesus warns us of people who will try to seduce us away from the truth. Pseudo-christs acknowledge Jesus…but then claim to actually be Him, while anti-Christs oppose the true Jesus Christ and His power. Both will amaze the multitudes with wonders…both come in sheep’s clothing to deceive the nations. But the very last phrase of this scripture gives all Christians confidence. “…to deceive the elect – if that were possible.” The elect are us…chosen by God, and we won’t be deceived, for with the prompting of the Holy Spirit we will be able to discern good from evil…a testing of the spirits if you will, to know deep down when something just doesn’t look or sound right.
Jesus already knew what the blind Bartimaeus needed…so why did He ask what he wanted? The Greek word for “want” not only shows an exercise of the will…active determination, but also purpose…pressing on to action. Bartimaeus’s faith in this man Jesus grew from only hearing about Him and the miracles Jesus was performing, but this faith had grown to the point that he knew beyond a shadow of doubt that Jesus could heal his blindness. Physical sight was restored in an instant, but spiritual sight was also restored as he accompanied Jesus and His disciples down the road.