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July 31, 2022 12:01 am
Were the miracles of Jesus mere magic tricks and sleights of hand? Today, R.C. Sproul continues his series in the gospel of Luke, helping us see through skeptics' arguments and emphasizing the eternal significance of Christ's feeding the five thousand.
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Julio renewing your board a miracle of the controversy we read about in the New Testament. Remarkable to ensure healing the sick and raising the dead are commonplace in the people that they were astounded of the centuries that followed skeptics of question the truthfulness of those miracles. Some they even occurred controversy scroll helplessly through the skeptics arguments today as we turn to Luke chapter 9 starting at verse 10 on their return, the apostles told him all that they had done and he took them and withdrew apart.
Georgetown called Best Buy when the crowds warned that they followed him and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing.
Now that they began to wear away in the 12 came and said to him send the crowd a way to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions for we are here in a desolate place but he said to them, you give them something to eat. They said we have no more than five loaves and two fish.
Unless we go buy food for all these people for there were about 5000 men, and he said to his disciples, have them sit down in groups of about 50 each, and they did so and have them all sit down and taking the five loaves of the two fish, he looked up to heaven and set a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crop and they all H and were satisfied and what was left over was picked up 12 baskets of broken pieces well if you been in church at all during your life. You've heard this story on retirement. You know it from beginning to end. You know that Jesus withdrew from the town from the city and went out into the desolate place apart from their and there he was busy preaching the kingdom of God and healing multitudes that were brought to him with various diseases and malady and as it was coming towards evening. The disciples have a sense of concern and compassion for this vast multitude that numbered 5000 men that doesn't count the women and children could have been easily 20,000 people assembled in this spots listening to Jesus disciples that these people been here for a while. It's getting late. We have to dismiss them so that they can go into the villages there. They may far provide lodging and get food that's interesting to me that once again we have the disciples coming to Jesus giving him advice as though he needed to tell like the disciples, we are in our prayers when we tried to give counsel to God Almighty and be his instructors. But in any case, Jesus didn't debate with them. He said you feed them and feed them and you can read between the lines as you knots we have five loaves and a few fish. That's not enough to feed this multitude remained go feed them well if you can't pay them at least you can organize them organizing the groups of 50 and tell them the stripped-down and I'll make sure that they're fed. If we don't have time. We don't have the money to go to any store or at East town that has a bizarre we can buy enough food to feed this product to Jesus. Jesus, if just given in groups of 50 and let me take care of the rest. You know what happened. Jesus took the five cakes in the fish and by the power of God multiplied and multiplied, and multiplied them so that every person who was gathered there that day.
Not only was Fred but was spread to the point of satisfaction. One writer says they were told not like were passing around a little piece of bread during communion. These people were still there was sufficient level by the bread and the fish that Jesus provided for them and not only they were filled but they were filled abundantly. Because when he was finished, they gathered 12 baskets full of leftovers so that Jesus provided more than just give them what they needed. They gave them way beyond their needs, which is one of the things one of the points that Dr. frittata made recently in our missions conference that one God blesses his people.
He blesses them abundantly well. On the one hand we see the for reasons not explained to us the New Testament writers saw a singular significance to this particular miracle because as I said, it's one of the few that's contained in all four Gospels but on the other side of that coin. This particular miracle has been singled out by critics and skeptics as exhibit a for the mythological teachings of the New Testament. This particular miracle has been targeted by those who, since the Enlightenment have brace a philosophy called naturalism and naturalism as is simply teachers.
This that we have nature around us and nature is all there is. There's no supra-or super nature so that anything that we find in the written record of the New Testament that suggests a supernatural event must be rejected out of hand because if we are naturalists we can't believe in the supernatural Solon Erato. Anything that pretends to be supernatural, must be rejected as unscientific and irrational. Now when the naturalists invaded the church in the 19th century we saw a movement spawned in Europe, which was called 19th century liberalism. It wasn't just liberalism in general, but it had a specific agenda a specific philosophy of specific theology and 19th century liberalism was based on the assumption that the Bible is to be criticized by biblical scholars and demonstrated to be false. In many places and again systematically.
19th century liberals took out of the New Testament record anything that smacked of supernaturalism, the virgin birth was severely attacked the atonement of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, the Transfiguration of Christ, the ascension of Christ. All the miracles of Jesus were thrown out wholesale, which by the way he provoked something about crisis and liberal churches in Germany and the rest of the continent in the British Isles because the pastors who embraced this liberal theology were left with this question what we do with our vocations. What we do with these expensive churches that we have built and one of the so-called text bad boys of the liberal movement Amanda Pearson said to his colleagues in the church. We need to be honest and we need to leave the ministry and we need to shut our churches. Because really we don't believe historic Christianity early in the 20th century, one of the new Orthodox theologians from Switzerland, Amo Bruner wrote a book called DOS Midler or the mediator in which she explored the mediatorial work of Jesus. And when he looked at the theories of 19th century liberalism. He said what this is his unbelief. Let unbelief that characterize 19th century liberalism became a pervasive influence in what is been called the mainline churches here in the United States, which for the most part have become monuments of unbelief. Now how did the 19th century liberals deal with this particular narrative of the thing that's ironic is, though they rejected supernaturalism, and they were committed naturalists they still wanted to find some viable place for religion and for ethics and though they rejected the supernatural claims of Jesus. They lauded him for his ethical insights and honored him as a great moral teacher and they also said there's still room for religion that gets us in touch with our inner feelings and our spirituality. Does that sound familiar to you and your culture today. People who are ranked pagans who won't stand for a minute any biblical theology still talk about big spiritual whatever that may well have the day go about treating this New Testament narrative well when I was in high school we had a senior high class taught by the pastor of our church and he treated this particular miraculous accountant gave us some of the theories that were proffered by the 19th century theologians.
One is beginning that it was simply a wholesale fraudulent myth that kind of myth that are made up in the imaginations of people who have some higher stream for a local hero, a myth that grows up around the Paul Bunyan, for example, or some other great person may say well what happened in the New Testament record was that this Jesus, who have or he really was in history was a man about whom many myths were created to extol his significance, but we can't take this record seriously as history and this spawned a whole movement in the 19th century thought called the quest for the historical Jesus and the assumption behind the quest for the historical Jesus was that you can't find the historical Jesus in the New Testament, we gotta reach beyond it. Underneath it inside of it to unpack it. You have to demythologized it and come up with something that is rational and natural. So the first explanation was that it was just myth now. Another theory came forth that was even more critical.
It said it was not only a myth but it wasn't intentional fraud perpetrated by Jesus himself. Jesus knew he was going to depart from the city to this place outside where there worn in the restaurants or caravans and decided to pull off a supernatural whopper before the crowd assembled Jesus had his disciples by a gigantic supply of foodstuffs bread and fish and conceal it in a secret cave by the plane where he would later on give his message and then that she instructed his disciples, he would stand in front of the hidden entrance to this cave when it was time to eat and say his hocus-pocus and have them form a bucket brigade with the food and passive through the cave to his back and he had a cut in the back of his robe and then like a magician who pull silk scarves forever. Obviously Jesus kept pulling out bread and fishes and performs this miracle feet almost the staging of such a thing would be almost more miraculous than the miracle itself, but this was a favorite way of explaining or explaining away if you will.
This feeding of the multitude. Now the third one, which was the one favored by our minister, was that what Jesus performed on that occasion was not a physical miracle of multiplying loaves and fishes, but what our Lord did was perform an ethical miracle. What happened is that some people as the little boy was an example thought I had and were prepared bringing their lunches for the occasion that many people in their excitement to go out and see Jesus and hear him were derelict, they forgot to pack a lunch and didn't make adequate preparations like the fullest versions of the parable. They came on. Prepare and of course the people who didn't have any food were looking at those who were eating and they were ogling that food and were extremely annoyed at their neighbors, abundance, and Jesus calm them down and persuaded the head to share voluntarily with the have not's. This is one of the first biblical accounts of the redistribution of wealth under the impetus of the teaching of Jesus and Jesus were so persuasive that the people did it. And so what we have here is an ethical miracle. Of course that does radical violence to the New Testament text completely depletes it of the significance that is found in the biblical text but I sent to you when I read this passage this morning to think about two questions do you believe this record and if so so what what difference does it make money asking this. If you're naturalists.
Nothing makes any difference. There's no one home up there and if there's no one home and all you have is nature. You don't live your life out in an environment that is cost to you, mother nature is not hostile, mother nature is even worse.
She's in different the stones the rocks the cells, the stars, the animals are indifferent to you and to your circumstance because from the perspective of nature. You're nothing more than a grown-up germ here.
A cosmic accident, your origin comes from nothingness and meaninglessness and you are sitting on one call log of a huge wheel of a vast cosmic machine that is running down inexorably to the abyss of meaninglessness as of the two poles of your lives, one that begins in meaninglessness and ends in meaninglessness and here support the the na´ve humanness jumps into the pot tries to borrow some capital from Christianity and says all we have to protect human dignity. We have to tolerate everybody. How na´ve can you get if you start with meaninglessness and you end with meaninglessness. What you have at every point in between is meaninglessness the only philosophy I respect all apartment Christianity is total nihilism where nothing matters. If nature is all there is, as he is in different she's not a kind and compassionate mother and the call the impersonal forces of nature. Mother at all, is an insult to human motherhood.
You see, if naturalism is all a ruse who cares whether black people are white people sit on the back of the Bosch. Neither the black nor the white has any dignity whatsoever.
Who cares if we kill 50 million unborn children there so much domestic garbage to begin with. If you're naturalists and so if you're naturalists, there's no such thing as right there's no such thing is wrong. All you have our personal preferences and if the stronger guy has his personal preference over the weaker guy then he'll use his club on the weaker guys preferences.
That's the way it is and naturalists when you wake up to that and see what's at stake here but let's assume, just for minute that on that day in Galilee, Jesus of Nazareth fed thousands of people to their satisfaction with five loaves and a few fish. What that means friends is the radical breakthrough of the supernatural into the natural what that means is that Jesus of Nazareth is not a clever ethical teacher. What that means is he is who he said he was the incarnate son of God. What that means that not only God is, but that God cares that he might well among and that he might do you with our sin with our disappointment with our pain and what that means is that every human being is made in the image of God, and who sits in the back of the bus matters of it matters forever. What it means is that your life matters much. As for now, but forever 19th-century liberalism spilled over in the 20th and we got the existential theology of the hick at the here and the now tolerates you only go around once.
So eat drink and be merry. Live life with gusto because tomorrow you die, and nobody cares or lease.
Nobody ought to care because the word ought is a meaningless work when I seem to see what's at stake here. I can remember in seminary dealing with professors who believe this kind of hard critical stuff and who couldn't wait to attack the integrity of the Scriptures. One time I talked to one of these professors lesson I get it that you don't believe that the Bible is the word of God should know and I submit, here's what I don't understand. It seems to me that you seem to have some kind of delight in teaching that were I would think that if you came to the conclusion that the Bible was not the inspired word of God that is conclusion that you would reach with tears, because without this were without Christ.
Without Christ were without hope and we are as the apostle Paul declared the most to be pitied because here we are wasting another Sunday morning while other people are having a good time there at the beach or wherever else there enjoying themselves while were sitting around here listening to philosophical poppycock with the faces of my all the difference in the world. This was the bread of life who was there to feed those thousands of people who've are ungreased the same bread of life who feeds us when we come to him today. I have no interest in adoring worshiping, praising, or working for a mess of the 19th century liberals were right and I for one, going to sleep in tomorrow morning, but they're not right there wrong, desperately, fatally, thank God. Those who deny the supernatural in the Bible. In reality, deny the sovereignty and omnipotence of God and as we heard Dr. RC Sproul boldly claim today.
Those liberal theologians are worn and they should be ignored. Thank you for joining us today for the Sunday edition of Renewing Your Mind for the past several months we have been privileged to look at the historical and theological context of the first eight chapters of Luke, let me recommend you request a resource offer today is a digital download of Dr. Sproles expositional commentary of this gospel you can requested today with your donation of any amount to look at your ministries or offices are closed on this Lord's day, but you can give your gift and make a firstname.lastname@example.org. We also encourage you to take advantage of leader ministries interactive question-and-answer service questions about the basics of Christianity, theology, and the Bible can be answered in real time when you go to ask.Ligonier.org it's available 24 hours a day, Monday through Saturday. You can be confident that our team will work quickly to provide you with clear and trustworthy answers to your questions that web address again is ask.Ligonier.org Renewing Your Mind is the listener supported outreach of leader ministries. Thank you for being with us and I hope you make plans to join us again next Sunday