On the Lydia thread, TCGreek stated that Let us focus on the gospels and see if regeneration is portrayed as occurring prior to faith or afterward. Consider twelve miraculous works of Jesus recorded in the gospels. These miracles involve acts of physical healing or physical regeneration performed by Jesus. Often the text indicates that spiritual regeneration occurs in the person’s heart as well, although this is not always made clear. These miracles also involve expressions of faith or confessions of faith. In these, which comes first, the faith or the regeneration? The Man with the Withered Hand (Matt 12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 4:38-39) Jesus was teaching in the synagogue. There was a man present with a withered hand. Jesus said to him “Stretch out you hand!” The man stretched it out and he was healed. Here the obedience to the command of Jesus and the healing are simultaneous. The Centurion’s Servant (Matt 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10) The Centurion, as a gentile, knew that Jesus was not permitted to enter his house. So, he actually requested Jesus to heal his servant without coming. Jesus was astounded at the man’s faith. He exclaimed that he had not found anyone with such faith in Israel. Then Jesus said “Go your way; let it be done to you as you have believed.” Those who returned to the house discovered that the servant was healed the hour that Jesus spoke the words. Notice the great faith that the Centurion had. Jesus marveled at his faith. Why would Jesus marvel at his faith if the man had been unable to believe? Notice that the man believed before he met Jesus, so the faith preceded the regeneration. The Nobleman’s Son (John 4:46-54) This story is remarkable similar to the story of the centurion in that it is a “long-distance” miracle. However the details are so different that it is a separate event. The nobleman went a good distance to see Jesus and ask him to heal his son. Jesus said “Go your way; your son lives.” John records, “the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he started off.” The servants of the nobleman meet him later as he travels home and tell him his son is well. They determine that the healing occurred at the same time Jesus pronounced that he was well. John records that the nobleman believed and his entire household. Note that the man believed and then the son was healed. The healing results in deeper belief by the nobleman and the salvation of his household. The Woman with the Issue of Blood (Matt 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-34; Luke 8:43-48) This woman, who was very weak physically because of her constant bleeding pressed her way through a crowd to get to Jesus just for the chance to touch his garment for she believed this would heal her. She touched it and was healed. This would have gone unnoticed, but Jesus stopped so as to call attention to what she had done. He called her out and encouraged her to tell what she had done, which she did. Then Jesus said “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.” Notice that her faith preceded her healing. Notice that Jesus referred to her faith as “her faith”. The Caananite Mother (Matt 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30) This woman was a Gentile. She followed Jesus and begged him to heal her daughter who was oppressed by a demon. Jesus ignored her and told her he was “sent to the lost sheep of the House of Israel“, not to Gentiles. She continued to beseech Jesus. Finally Jesus answered her “O woman great is your faith! Be it done to you as you desire”. Immediately her daughter was healed. Notice that the woman gave clear evidence of faith, so much so that Jesus marveled at her faith. THEN he healed the girl. The faith preceded the regeneration. Notice also that Jesus refers to the woman’s faith as “her faith”. The Epileptic Boy with the Demon (Matt 17:14-19; Mark 9:14-29; Luke 9:37-42) This man brought his demon possessed son to Jesus’ disciples while Jesus was on the mount of transfiguration with Peter, James, and John. Jesus’ disciples were unable to help the boy. The man said to Jesus, “if you can do anything, take pity on the boy and help us!” Jesus replied, “If you can! All things are possible to him who believes.” The man replied, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” Then Jesus cast out the demon and physically regenerated the boy. Notice, the faith was weak, but it was there. The man asked for help with his unbelief. Notice that the faith was expressed first, then Jesus healed the boy. The Daughter of Jairus (Matt 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56) Jairus approached Jesus and asked him to come heal his daughter. Before Jesus could get the to house messengers came and reported that the daughter had died. Jairus became greatly discouraged, but Jesus said to him “Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she shall be made well.” Then Jesus went to Jairus’ house and raised his daughter from the dead. Notice that Jairus was first commanded to believe, then the regeneration of his daughter took place. The Raising of Lazarus (John 11) After it was reported that Lazarus was dead, Jesus told his disciples, I am glad that I was not there so that you may believe. Jesus met Martha and encouraged her to believe. Then he met Mary and encouraged her to believe. Next Jesus raised Lazarus and it is reported that “many of the Jews who had come to Mary and beheld what he had done, believed in him. In this story, Jesus allows the tragedy to occur. In the face of the tragedy, he encourages his followers to believe and, after raising Lazarus, their faith is strengthened and others believe. So the faith is both before and after the regeneration. Two Blind Men (Matt 9:27-31) Two blind men followed Jesus crying out “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” Jesus asked, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord” they said. Jesus healed them. Faith precedes the regeneration of their eyes in this story. Blind Bartimaeus (Matt 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43) As Jesus passed through Jericho, blind Bartimaeus called out continually after him, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” The crowd tried to quiet him, but he persisted. Jesus had them bring Bartimaeus over. Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartmaeus replied, “Lord, I want to receive my sight!” Jesus replied “Receive your sight, your faith has made you well.” Immediately Bartimaeus received his sight. Notice that Jesus acknowledged Bartimaeus’ faith before he healed him. Notice that Jesus referred to Bartimaeus’ faith as “his” faith. The Man Born Blind (John 9) This man was healed of his blindness by Jesus, for the glory of God, as Jesus said. After his healing, a great trial ensued as the Pharisees tried to discredit and disprove what had happened. The more they investigated, the more irrefutable the miracle became. Eventually, they excommunicated the man from the synagogue. After this Jesus found the man and approached him about his faith. Jesus asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The man answered, “And who is he Lord that I may believe in Him?” Jesus revealed himself and the man said “Lord, I believe.” Here, regeneration occurs first and faith comes later. However, the man was healed before he knew Jesus’ identity. He could not believe on one whom he did not know. Once Jesus revealed himself, the man believed. The Man and His Four Friends (Matt 9:2-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:18-26) In this story, four men bring their lame friend to Jesus for healing. They could not get into the house because of the crowd so they went on top and dug through the ceiling and let the man down in the room before Jesus. Luke says “And seeing their faith, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” Then after making a point to the Pharisees, Jesus said “Rise, take up your bed, and go home.” The man did so. Notice that faith precedes the forgiveness of sins which precedes the physical regeneration in this story. Notice that Jesus saw “their” faith. These stories deal with Jesus healing physical conditions like blindness, lameness, and death which illustrate man’s lost spiritual condition. In all but one story, faith precedes or is simultaneous with regeneration. In the one exception, the man in question did not believe in Jesus because he did not know who he was at the time he was healed. This is powerful biblical evidence that the norm is that faith precedes regeneration. Comments or feedback?