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THE MIRACLES OF JESUS



By the Same Author

THE PARABLES
OF JESUS

A Companion Volume to
THE MIRACLES OF JESUS

Written in the same thoughtful
and helpful vein and showing
the same devotional spirit and
keen human insight.

A New American Edition



Net, $i.6o



E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY

New York



THE

MIRACLES OF JESUS

As Marks on the Way of Life



BY THE RIGHT REV.

COSMO GORDON LANG, D.D., D.C.L.

Archbishop of York
NEW AMERICAN EDITION




NEW YORK
E. P. BUTTON & COiVrPANy

681 Fifth Avenue .. , .,.



Ti-'r: t'E'V YORK
PUBLIC LIBRARY

Tli-DKN FOUNDATIONS

R 1918 L






First Edition, Oct. 1900

Second Edition, Feb. 1901
Third Edition, Oct. 1901

Fourth Edition, Feb. 1902
Fifth Edition, Oct. 1902

Sixth Edition, Feb. 1903

Seventh Edition, March 190^
Eighth Edition, Jan. 1905
Ninth Edition, Jan. 1906

Tenth Edition, April 1907
Eleventh Edition, Jan. 1910

New American Edition,
April 1918



T/intid in the United States of America



THE MIRACLES OF JESUS



PREFACE

The purpose of this book is neither criti-
cal nor apologetic. It assumes the sub-
stantial accuracy of the Gospel narratives.
It does not attempt to deal with the phi-
losophy or the evidences of the Miracles. It
deals with them simply as one of Christ's
methods of teaching the principles of a
true life.

Though it is thus limited and practical
in its purpose, it may I hope be read
by some who have doubts concerning the
assumptions which it cannot discuss; for



8 PREFACE

it has been written with a very real
sense of the difficulties both of faith and of
hfe.

The chapters originally appeared as the
Sunday Readings in the Good Words
Magazine. I have not been able to find
time to modify, enlarge, or improve them.
This fact will partially explain repetitions
of thought or even phrase almost inevi-
table in papers written from time to time
for the purposes of a monthly periodical.
Other only too obvious faults are the
results of the hurry and distractions from
which the vicar of a parish of nearly
fifty thousand people must necessarily
suffer.

I have not, directly, consulted any other
literature than the Gospels themselves.
I have simply tried to let them speak their



PREFACE 9

own message to me, and to transmit that
message, with whatever imperfections, to my
readers.

C. G. LANG.

The Vicarage, Portsea.
October 1900



CONTENTS

PAGE

The Meaning of the Miracles ... 17

The Water Made Wine

i. jesus at the marriage feast . . 25

ii. jesus and his mother ... 29

iii. the water and the wine of life . 33

iv. the best at the last ... 38

The Draught of Fishes

I. THE fishermen OF GALILEE ... 45

ii. perseverance in the spiritual life 49

iii. perseverance in well-doing . . 53

The Man Sick of the Palsy

1. THE faith of FRIENDS ... 61

II. THE SECRET OF THE SICK MAN . . 65

III. SOCIAL PALSY 70

IV. FORGIVENESS 74



12 CONTENTS

The Woman with the Issue of Blood

PAGE

I. THE TOUCH OF FAITH .... 81

II. THE DIVINE KNOWLEDGE OF HUMAN

NEED 87

hi. the work of faith .... 90

iv. the ventures of faith ... 95

Healing on the Sabbath-day

i. pharisaism 101

ii. the cure of pharisaism . . . 106

iii. the lordship of the son of man . 110



The Centurion's Servant

i. humility and strength
ii. soldierlike simplicity
hi. affection and authority .
iv. the surprise of the great day
v. faith and fact



117

121
126
131
137



The Feeding of the Multitude

i. ideal and fact 145

ii. the great possibilities of small op-
portunities 150

hi. the spirit of thankfulness . . 154

iv. the boldness of the spirit . . 159

Jesus Walking on the Sea

i. detachment 167

ii. the contrary wind . . . . 172

hi. the divine sympathy .... 176

iv. the trial of faith . . . v 181



CONTENTS
The Gadarene Demoniac

i. disordered life
ii. jesus and legion .
iii. the fear of the supernatural
iv. home witness



13



PAGE
187

191
197
202



The Nobleman of Capernaum



I. THE SIFTING OF CHARACTER . . .211

II. THE CRAVING FOR SIGNS AND WONDERS . 215

III. DISAPPOINTMENTS IN RELIGION . . 220

IV. THE PERPLEXITIES OF PRAYER . . 224

V. A RULE OF LIFE 228



The Story of Blind Bartim^us

i. the conduct of the crowd
ii. the blind beggar
iii. the sight giver .
iv. the gift op sight

The Raising of Lazarus



I. GOD S DELAYS . . . .

II. Christ's view of death
III. Christ's view of life .
IV. the life which is eternal

V. THE prospect OF DEATH

The Way of Life . . . .



235
242
247
252



261
267
273
279

285

291



THE MEANING OF THE
MIRACLES



THE MEANING OF THE
MIRACLES

The Miracles of Jesus were not so much
evidences as parts of His Revelation. They
were themselves disclosures in deed of the
motives, the laws, the ends by which all
things are ordered by God. They were lights
let in upon the darkness of divine Provi-
dence. The truth that the Spirit of the
universe — of whom, through whom, in
whom, to whom are all things — is a Personal
Being, and that His creation is ordered for
what we call "moral" ends, is one which we
must hold by faith: evidence can support,
but cannot give it. For sigJit of it — clear,
complete, final — we must wait for the Day



18 THE MIRACLES OF JESUS

of Light. The so-called "miracles," which
accompanied the presence here on this dark-
ened earth of God made manifest in the
flesh, were anticipations of the final enlight-
ening. They were hints given by God
Himself or His else veiled purposes, suffi-
cient to vindicate and sustain our faith.
They were lessons taught in facts by the
divine Teacher, of the final truth of things;
fragmentary glimpses of the hidden secret of
the universe. Human eyes were permitted
to behold the forces of wind and sea, the
mysterious laws of disease and death, in the
grasp of a Power who is a Person and a Will
of love, to behold them manifestly ordered by
Him for the good of man. That instinct of
faith which penetrates through the mystery
of the laws of the universe, of the inscrutable
course of things — a mystery eluding obser-
vation and baffling reason — and reaches a
personal will, not less supreme than good,
was vindicated by the Miracles of God incar-
nate. Jesus healing the sick, raising the
dead, stilling the storm, feeding the multi-



THE MEANING OF THE MIRACLES 19

tude — Jesus was Providence made plain.
Each miracle, then, is not only an instance of
the loving kindness of Jesus to those who at
the time appealed to Him for it, but a reve-
lation of the will of God, of the purpose of
His ceaseless Providence. It teaches His
purpose as well as proves His power. We
see in it infinite power shaping the course of
things for the good of a human soul. It
shows us what we mean when we speak in
the language of faith of "the ordering of all
things for our good" — shows us, too, that if
this is the language of children, it is the lan-
guage of children who in their simplicity see
deep and far into truth. When, therefore,
we ask of each miracle what it has to teach
us, we are not indulging in mere edifying
fancy, we are following the very reason for
which it was done ; we are treating it as God
meant it — as a sign of the way in which His
Providence is ever guiding men, as a lesson
of the divine method of dealing with human
life.

Moreover, we are being taught in many



20 THE MIRACLES OE JESUS

ways that human hfe — hodily, mental,
spiritual — is not separated as it were into
distinet compartments, hut that it is a unity
in itself. The lower forms of it exist for the
sake of, and find their true end in, the higher.
The laws which regulate the body have their
analogies in the laws which regulate the soul.
Eoth come from the same source, express
the same will, work for the same end — a
whole life realising perfectly the idea of it in
the Divine Mind. This truth underlies the
JMiracles of Jesus. It is plain that He did not
heal the body only in order to relieve suffer-
ing or cure disease, or to gain an authority
which would enable Him to heal the soul;
but also in order that men should learn from
the way in which He healed the body the
way in which the soul also must find its
healing. If this be so, we are right in treat-
ing the Miracles as signs of the way in which
our human life is to be set free from its dis-
orders and to fulfil the purpose of God who
gave it.

We shall in these pages try to learn some



THE MEANING OF THE MIBACLES 21

of the abiding lessons of the Miracles. We
shall try to realise them as they were, and to
understand them as they are. We are first
to picture the human, momentary scene, then
to learn some of the divine, eternal truths
which it revealed. It is the vi^ork of the Holy
Spirit to take of the things of Jesus and show
them to us — to take the lasting truth out of
the temporary form in which it was at first
revealed and bring it home to our own life
and experience. We discern this work of the
Spirit in the words of Jesus. Spoken though
they were by human lips to human ears at a
long past period of this world's history, still,
when we read or hear them, they touch the
mind, the will, the conscience with the force
and freshness of a living voice. Still and for
ever they are words of eternal life. So also
must it be with the deeds of Jesus. Done
once in act, in meaning they are eternal.
The Holy Spirit takes the record of the act,
and reveals to us the will of the ever-living
Jesus of which it was once the expression.
So the deed is for ever done for us; our



22 THE MIRACLES OF JESUS

experience is brought within its teaching.
As we read the history of the miracle itself,
let us ask the Divine Spirit who in Jesus
wrought it, and in the words of the Gospel
has recorded it, to enlighten the eyes of our
mind, that we may see and know the truth
which He means it to have for us!



THE WATER MADE WINE

St. John ii. 1



THE WATER MADE WINE

St. John ii. 1



I. JESUS AT THE MAREIAGE FEAST

We can never cease to be surprised at
the simplicity and straightforwardness with
which the Gospels put before us the reality
of our Lord's human nature. It is not
obtruded, or insisted upon; it is simply as-
sumed. This is indeed equally true of their
presentment of His divine nature. If we
think of it quietly, surely there is some-
thing wonderful in what we may call the
unconscious audacity of these records — the
quiet, almost matter-of-fact way in which
they blend together two apparently so oppo-
site conceptions: Jesus as man and Jesus as



26 THE MIRACLES OF .JESUS

God. There is a naturalness about it which
seems to make the idea of their authors set-
ting about to illustrate a doetrine a literary
impossibility. Their treatment of two ideas
so hard to combine in thought seems incon-
ceivable unless they had seen them fused in
a real and actual life. Thus in this story of
the marriage feast of Cana the natural and
the supernatural are blended with a sim-
plicity which is beyond the skill of art.

Consider, then, how real and recognisable
is the humanity here portrayed. It is a very
homely village feast — in an atmosphere of
frank conviviality. Notice the obvious dis-
tress when the supply of wine falls short of
the demand ; the hilarity of the ruler's words
to the bridegroom when the good wine un-
expectedly appears — perhaps the only words
approaching a jest in the wliole New Testa-
ment. Quite plainly there is no suggestion
of constraint, of the presence of anything
strange and awful, in the wliole scene. Yet
one of the guests was the Son of God.
"Jesus was bidden, and His disciples, to the



THE WATER MADE WINE 2%

marriage." How real and entire must have
been the humanity which made such an
invitation possible! He was the friend
and neighbour of these village folk. For
thirty years He had been coming and
going among them, yet they had discerned
nothing in Him that would make it strange
to invite Him to share the innocent con-
viviality of their feast. There was nothing
in His presence there that would seem to
them incongruous. There was nothing in
their simple mirth that He would disown.
Nay; He used His divine power to help it
— to remove a difficulty which might have
spoiled it. It was thus, says St. John, that
*'He manifested His glory." Truly — they
are His own words, else we would have
shrunk from using them — "the Son of Man
came eating and drinking."

The Son of Man — with what surprising
simphcity this scene vindicates His title ! It
brings Him to us in the familiar intimacies of
social intercourse. The Christian household
is to regard Him as the unseen guest at every



28 THE MIRACLES OF JESUS

meal, the unseen hearer of every conversa-
tion. Yet this thought is not to bring any
atmosphere of constraint and severity: it is
not to check the readiness or cloud the
brightness of untainted mirth. The Puritan
can never have meditated on this story of the
marriage feast at Cana. It teaches us that
it is not mirth that His presence banishes,
but only the evil — the foolishness or self-
indulgence — that corrupts it. Jesus can be
with us — let us saj^ it with a reverent bold-
ness — even in our laughter.

Laughter — ^the laughter that takes us out
of ourselves, that spreads its gaiety and
lightens the burden of life — and the humour
which provokes it, are among God's choicest
gifts. He who has created and surely re-
joices in "the much laughing sea," and the
mirth of the birds among the trees in the
spring morning, will not disown the laughter
of His children. There is a time to laugh as
well as a time to weep; and the Son of IMan,
who shared our tears on the way to the grave
of Lazarus and the Cross of Calvary, shared



THE WATER MADE WINE 29

also our mirth at the feast of Cana. All the
faculties of life are to be, not suspected, but
redeemed from evil by the Christian; and
one of the richest and happiest is the faculty
of mirth. Our duty is, not to check its
brightness, but to keep its innocence; and
surely in the laughter that is like the laughter
of the child, of the sunlight and the birds,
God is well pleased.



II. JESUS AND HIS MOTHER

One shadow crosses the brightness of that
scene at Cana. There is one touch of gentle
severity — Jesus' quiet rebuke of His mother.
With a woman's ready insight she had dis-
cerned the little failure in household manage-
ment which threatened to spoil the success of
the feast. In the happy days at Nazareth
she had doubtless often turned for help to
the sympathy of her Son. In ways not
revealed to us He had often, doubtless, given
her help in her own household cares that



80 THE MIRACLES OF JESUS

recalled the mystery of His birth. So now
"when the wine failed the mother of Jesus
saith unto Him, 'They have no wine.' Jesus
saith unto her, 'Woman, Avhat have I to do
with thee? mine hour is not yet come.' "
There was no harshness in the words : the
appearance of it is due simply to the Greek
word, which it is difficult to translate into
English. But, however gentle and respect-
ful, it was a rebuke. Her words perhaps
seemed to imply some mother's right to influ-
ence His acts She must be taught that the
old days of "subjection" were over; that He
had now to realise the wider aims and deeper
purposes of His own divine mission; that
His acts were now to be controlled by its
supreme necessities. "Mine hour is not yet
come." Perhaps there was a trace of pre-
sumption in the words or manner of Mary — ,
though one hesitates to use the term — of
presuming too far on the rights which her
relationship seemed to give her. She must
be reminded that between her and Him there
was a deep mysterious gulf. "Woman,



THE WATER MADE WINE 31

what is there between me and thee?" Yet
who shall venture to explain these glimpses
into that wonderful guidance — so gentle, so
pathetic — by which the Blessed Mother
learned to realise that her Son was also her
Lord?

One practical thought for ourselves, how-
ever, we may be permitted to gather from
this gentle rebuke. It is one of the marks
of a wise parent — most sure, yet most diffi-
cult of attainment — to discern betimes the
period when the child's life must pass beyond
the parent's immediate control. The hand
of loving care which has guided the cliild's
younger life may, if it linger on him too long
and too fondly, thwart and hinder his own
development. Every child has its own way
to take — a way unknown to the parent, often
leading to regions in which the parent is
bewildered and ill at ease. The child after
all is not so much God's gift as God's loan —
an embodiment of a wholly separate purpose
of God entrusted for a time to the parents'
guidance. It is hard for them to discern,



32 THE MIRACLES OF JESUS

harder still to accept, the moment when that
time has reached its limit, and the child must
go forth in the way of its own destiny. Yet
failure in this discernment is a fruitful cause
of family misunderstandings. The father
insists on keeping his boy within the lines of
some career which he has designed for him,
and resents the boy's desire to wander out-
side of them. The mother expects the grow-
ing daughter to share her own ideas and con-
form to her own customs, and is distressed at
the signs of independence. So the living
hand of help and guidance becomes the dead
hand of mere restraint. The bonds of love
become irksome chains. No parent can tie
up the life of a child in the limits of his own
preconceived desires and ideas. Wise love
will not seek to prolong subjection, but to
prepare for freedom. The true economy of
the nest is to fit the young bird for flight.
When the time comes, and the children show
in thoughts and ambitions the warning signs
that the call of their separate destiny is be-
ginning to reveal itself, the parent must open



THE WATER MADE WINE 33

the door, bid them God-speed, and let them
go. After all, that new land is not strange
to their Heavenly Father: He will be with
them there. The human fatherhood must
surrender its trust to the divine. Love
reaches its height in sacrifice; and parent's
love in the sacrifice of its restraints. But
the sacrifice will lose its bitterness when it
becomes an offering of the child to the love
of God from which he came, and beyond
which he cannot wander.



III. THE WATER AND THE WINE OF LIEE

By the supremacy of His Divme Spirit
Jesus converted the water into wine. By
this "sign," says St. John, He "manifested
His glory." The glory was not merely in the
display of power, but in the inward meaning
of the act. For every act of the Eternal
Truth in time was a symbol — the manifesta-
tion of an inner divine, eternal glory. So
considered this act was a symbol of the whole



34 THE MIRACLES OF JESUS

life of Jesus. It was a symbol of the Incar-
nation. He took the water of our human
life, and by the supremacy of His Spirit con-
verted it into the wine of the divine life. He
came down to our fallen humanity, and
raised it again to God. By taking our man-
hood upon Him He "took it unto God."
Thus He dignified every part and faculty of
it ; He stamped it for ever with the pledge of
its divine possibility. The flesh is no longer
vile, since He wore it. Suffering is no longer
merely sad, since He consecrated it. Our
sin is no longer hopeless, since He bore it,
and by bearing covered it with forgiveness.
He converted human life by living it. As
was the Master, so is the disciple to be. He
has given us His Spirit, and by His Spirit
we are the inheritors and associates of His
conversion of life. The Spirit of Jesus in us.
His members, is to manifest His glory by
enabling us always to turn our water into
wine.

The wine did not simply ccme: the water
became it. That is the divine method.



THE WATER MADE WINE 35

When Christ came He did not come in a new
order of being : He came in the flesh, a man.
It was just this real and actual human nature
that He made divine. We are to follow that
divine method. We are to take the water as
we find it and convert it into wine. It may
seem in itself most alien to this better use.
The water in these jars at Cana must have
seemed the very opposite of the wine that
was desired. Our lives and circumstances —
the world we live in — may seem singularly
incapable of fulfilling a divine purpose; yet
it is through these and not otherwise that the
divine purpose is to be fulfilled. The su-
premacy of the Spirit of Jesus sufiices. The
artist, whatever his dreams and ideals of
beauty may be, does not quarrel with this
world and wait for another. He sets to work
with the lines and colours that he finds, and
by the supremacy of his artist-spirit realises
his ideal through them. It may only be a
peasant scything the grass that he sees ; but
"behold just there the rhythm of movement.
It may only be the corner of an obscure



36 THE MIRACLES OF JESUS

stream; but behold just there the wonders
of light and shadow. The Christian is the
true artist of life. He takes what he finds
in the lot he shares with ordinary men — of
sorroAv and joy, of labour and rest, of suc-
cess and failure, of capacities and incapaci-
ties. He does not quarrel with it; he does
not change it. But by the supremacy of the
spirit which the Lord of Life gives him, he
converts it into the sphere of a noble and
God-ward life. It is not too much to say
that the main business of a Christian life is
to go through the world turning its water
into wine.

Put quite simply, the true Christian learns
to make the best of everything and every-
body. Every wise man, whether he calls
himself a Christian or not, discerns that there
is no other way of making life worth living.
He will set himself strenuously to make the
best of things as he finds them. Only he is
apt to be haunted at times with the thought
that perhaps this brave endeavour is after
all an illusion. He will not cherish it less



THE WATER MADE AVINE 37

ardently, or follow it less perseveringly; but
the secret fear will rob it of much of its zest
and joy. The Christian Imows it is truth, not
illusion. He does not try to make the best of
things — to wrest good out of evil, joy out of
sorrow, life out of death — because it is after
all the wisest thing to do; but because it is
the truest thing to do. He has the Example
of the true life before him — the witness of
the Spirit of truth within him. He mani-
fests, not the success of a helpful illusion,
but the glory of the Incarnate Christ, when
he thus resolutely turns the water into wine.
Even if the water be salt — salt with the tears
of sorrow or the bitterness of suffering — the
spirit of Christ within him will convert it into
the wine of closer fellowship with the Cross.
If the water be clear and sparkling — the
beauty of an autumn day, the invigoration
of stimulating work, the companionship of
children, the possession of human love — ^he
will convert it into a deeper and more satis-
fying draught of wine, for he will taste in
this the rich wine of the love of God.



38 THE MlllACLES Of JESUS



IV. THE BEST AT THE LAST

"Every man setteth on first the good wine ;
and when men have drunk freely, then tliat
wliich is worse; thou hast kept the good
wine until now." So said the ruler of the
feast at Cana to the bridegroom. It was but
the jest of an evening; yet, though he little
knew it, he was speaking a parable of life.
For the words point the eontrast between
the way of worldly and of God-ward living.
First the good wine, then, when men have
drunk freely, the worse — ^that is the way in
which the world entertains its friends. They
have good wine set before them at the start.
They have the joys of childhood — easy con-
science, the endless variety of outward
things, the surprises of an infinite curiosity,
a sunlight w^here there is no shadow of self.
They have the pleasures of youth — when
hope is young, and health strong, and all the
faculties of sense keen and alert. And they
drink freely, for life tastes sweet in these



THE WATER MADE WINE 39

early irresponsible days. At all costs, thej'^
will "see life," they will "have a good time."
But the good wine soon fails. It draws its
flavour from outward things, and only a
fresh taste can appreciate it. The taste palls
from much indulgence, and outward things
lose their power to please. They are not what
they were in the brave young days. Cares,
customs, inevitable responsibilities, awkward
consequences, gradually limit their range.
Sensations cease to stimulate — or stimulate
without being able to satisfy. Then worse


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