Apologetics, Episode 8, Christ's Prophecies and Miracles
The miracles and prophecies recorded in the New Testament are objective norms of the proof of the divinity of Jesus. Our Lord's prophecies about himself were very detailed, which is why we cannot call them mere predictions. Prophecies cannot be general by definition, otherwise they would be subject to guesswork by anyone. Jesus' knowledge of the future comes from the Divine Intellect, as shown by the fulfilment of the prophecies.
In the Gospels, Christ uses this expression multiple times: “Thou hast said it.” It is similar to the contemporary expression “you said it” but without any colloquial emphasis. With no less than the weight of His own death behind it, it is a much stronger affirmation than the word “yes." Jesus said “thou hast said it” to Judas, to the chief priest, then to Pontius Pilate. The expression maps the unfolding of the prophecies in real time. Our Lord uses another significant expression around another prophecy involving St. Peter. Telling him that he will deny Jesus thrice, he says: “Amen I say thee." Its power comes mainly from his pointed use of the single-person “thee." Jesus makes other prophecies concerning His disciples that are fulfilled in the Acts of the Apostles. In the Gospel of Saint Matthew Chapter 24, He says things pertaining to the end of the world and to the end of Jerusalem. (The end of Jerusalem prefigures the end of world). There is a testimony by Josephus titled “The Jewish War” that describes the fate of the Jews in 70 AD and corresponds to Christian history. It is available to read online.
In reference to His miracles and prophecies, Jesus says, “if you do not find me credible at least believe because I can do these things." This is central to the mysterious reason behind Christ's presence on earth. Inasmuch as we can know and understand, Jesus is here to create a faith for reasonable people to believe in. That is why His miracles were witnessed, understood for what they were, and accounted for, and why His prophecies had all their details fulfilled. As such, there is nothing like the Catholic Religion, established by His very presence, that even now endures. Our Lord is very clear about the necessity of believing in the Religion that He was so careful to construct. We see this when He says, “those who do not believe will be condemned.” Of course, He also fulfilled very many prophecies of the Old Testament, too numerous to begin listing here.
As we saw earlier, looking at a couple of His expressions, Christ is not only careful in what He does, but highly conscious of what He says. He is speaking to give Divine Credibility to the Divine Authority. Jesus explains this in Saint John 12:49-50:
“For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father who sent me, he gave me commandment what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting. The things therefore that I speak, even as the Father said unto me, so do I speak.”
Why must Divine Credibility be given to the Divine Authority? Christ is establishing a rational foundation for faith – a faith that is Divinely founded. He knows that reasonable people must see a reason to believe. Such reasonable belief cannot be based on feeling, or an emotional high. Neither can blind loyalty lead us to follow Our Lord. The Act of Faith that Jesus bids us make is cold. It pertains to intellect that is by nature calculated. Emotion clouds the intellect and therefore has no place in the Catholic Faith except incidentally. Emotion is based in a chaotic subjectivity of mind, whereas the intellect is based in objective evidence. In a modern world where “feelings” have been raised to the level of importance once held by the virtues, people are beginning to crave the order and hierarchy inherent to the Catholic Church. Everything makes sense in the Catholic Church. While there is some incidental emotion in it, it always stays at a very rational and high level that is intellectually consistent. The result is that the Church does not abandon the truth even when under tremendous pressure. Internal to the Church Itself is credibility – Jesus established the Church Itself with Divine Credibility – and, as such, the Church Itself is a mode of credibility: it is there to be believed! When a person of goodwill is looking for something reasonable to believe in, the “strictness of morality ” of the Catholic Church is immediately attractive. With such high levels of consistency, the Catholic Church maintains its morality, history, and doctrines.
The natural means which Christ sometimes used in healing miracles were incapable of producing cures. A sign of the sacraments, Jesus used physical things in order to give grace. He touched a woman and she is cured. Consider that even now there is no cure for the common cold. Viral diseases still elude us. Surgical procedures have admittedly progressed, but little else since Our Lord was alive. Meanwhile, Christ was able to cure at a distance! He also let Lazarus die; a prefiguration of his Resurrection. Saint John chose to share seven miracles in clear chronology in his Gospel, that we are so blessed to read and believe. Listen and learn from Season 5, Apologetics, Episode 8: Christ’s Prophecies and Miracles.
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