One in Many

And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there. And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them: Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.

Matthew 15:29-31

And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

Mark 7:31-37

One of the things that surprised me about the event of the feeding of the four thousand is the drastically different accounts given by Matthew and Mark leading up to the the feeding of that multitude. Matthew records that a great number of miracles were performed publicly for several people, but Mark records only one miracle and that in private. This does not mean that one is right and one is wrong. When we combine the two accounts, we see the whole picture of what happened that day.

Matthew’s account records a massive amount of miracles happening in a very short amount of time. This may have been the largest display of Jesus’ power to heal to date. The result was that God was glorified. There is no mention of people doubting or trying to explain away the miracles. The sheer multitude of powerful things demonstrated by Jesus left no doubt in this multitude’s mind that Jesus came from God. In fact, we will see shortly that they spent three days with Jesus in this place. Whatever food they had, if they brought any at all, was probably gone. They took no thought for their personal needs. They were in the presence of the power of God and that seems to be all that mattered to the crowd.

And then there is Mark’s account of one man being healed in private. I do not know exactly why the Holy Ghost inspired Mark to only record this single event but I will try to offer some explanation and reason. I do not know why Jesus performed this miracle in the way that He did. Did He need to speak specific words or spit? I don’t think so because He doesn’t heal the same way every time. We don’t know how He could do the miracle in any fashion so who are we to think we can figure out how He did this one? So,I will just leave that part with this explanation – There is power in the spit of Jesus! 

Regarding the drastic difference in the mass of people healed in contrast to this single man I offer the following. The first thing that comes to mind is that the mass healing that takes place in Matthew’s account might seem impersonal to the reader, as though Jesus just heals whoever comes to Him but takes no thought of them. We know this is not true, but supposed “faith healers” of today perform fake miracles on anonymous crowds all the time. Mark’s account lets us know that even though many people were healed, every single one of them was special to our Savior!

And so we can look at the cross in the same way. Jesus died for a countless multitude of people yet He knows them all by name. He did not die for an indeterminate amount of people. He died specifically for the elect, those that were given to Him before the world began. When Jesus died on the cross it was a particular and special atonement for each individual that didn’t just make salvation possible, it saved them to the uttermost! 

Yes indeed, Jesus is a personal Savior! But, not by our choice of Him but by Father’s individual choice of each of the elect and His special work on the cross for each one of them.

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