Lutherans/The miracles of Jesus.


I would like to thank you for your answer to Michael concerning the Un-pardonable Sin. I was distressed about it myself 38 years ago in fact almost two years but shortly after that I found  that I did not commit it and was confirmed by scripture as being saved. One question lingers, you discussed how the Spirit and our Lord worked and works in close connection together in their work of redemption. There is a disagreement amongst evangelicals about how our Lord performed His miracles, some say that the Divine side of the God-man nature actually did them and others disagree arguing that to protect the Hypostatical Union the Holy Spirit at Jesus baptism gave that Union special gifts that it did not have before and Jesus used those given gifts to do His Miraculous works (eg. physical healing casting out demons-raising the dead) how do you see that? I would like to know. A word about those fearing they that they have committed the Un-pardonable Sin, feeling  having done it they feel that they are "unique" being only of a small few in the whole human race that has done it the rest of mankind out of ignorance or the providence of God avoided that sin. Thank you for your ministry computers used in the right way can be very helpful and a blessing God bless waiting for your answer. Jim Cashon


Thanks for your question.  I'm glad you found the previous question on the unforgivable sin beneficial.  

You bring up an interesting question regarding the source of power for Jesus' miracles.  While this is debated in evangelical circles, it is not a question those in my Lutheran circles typically contemplate.  I believe it is because we are comfortable allowing paradox to remain in tension, while the majority of the protestant world tends to resolve paradox (consider, for example, the Reformed double-predestination contrasted with the Arminian decision-theology, both of which attempt to resolve the paradoxical concept of God's and man's roles in salvation).  

In light of what we know about the indivisible nature of Christ's natures and of the Trinity's internal and external relations, I would find both options presented to be unsatisfactory.  

Because, after the incarnation, we must speak of the actions of Jesus as a whole person, and never of the divine and human natures separately, we could not say that only Jesus' divine nature performed the miracles recorded in the Gospels.  I can identify the source of the discomfort with the human nature's participation in the miracles, however, because the theology of Calvin and Zwingli denied that material things were capable of supernatural acts, therefore denying the full communication of Jesus' divine attributes to his human body.  As a Lutheran, I do not experience similar discomfort, so would not find it necessary to make such a distinction.  

At the same time, I would not be comfortable with the idea that the Holy Spirit bestows this power upon Jesus at His baptism.  This comes far close to the error of Adoptionism (a Christological heresy condemned by the early church councils) for my comfort.  Additionally, because I believe that Jesus' divine attributes are fully possessed by both his divine and human nature (including his material body), I do not find the Holy Spirit's involvement necessary for the man Jesus do do the miraculous, because as God, he possesses that power in His own right, even from conception, and does not require that it be bestowed upon Him from outside.  

However, I would still acknowledge the Holy Spirit's involvement in Jesus' miracles--not as a necessary supplement to anything lacking because of Jesus' humanity, but rather because the Trinity always acts together in relation to humanity.  Our theology teaches that while the three persons of the Trinity act individually in their relation to one another, they act in unity in relation to things outside.  So, when God the Father creates the world, so do the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Although only Jesus (as both God and man) dies at the Crucifixion, the Father and Spirit are both active in the redemption of man.  This is the mystery of the Trinity--that whatever is true of one person of the Trinity is true of God as a whole, while at the same time, the persons maintain their distinction internally.  So, on the cross, we can say that God died, since Jesus is fully God, yet Father does not die, nor the Spirit, only the Son.  

It is acceptable (in fact, preferable) not to resolve the paradoxes, but rather to confess what Scripture says.  So, Jesus (in both natures, as a unified person) performs miracles of His own authority, yet the Holy Spirit is not excluded.  The question is not either-or (Jesus divinity or humanity; Jesus or the Holy Spirit).  Instead, the answer is "yes."  Yes-Jesus performs miracles.  Yes-the Holy Spirit performs the same miracles.  Yes-Jesus performs miracles according to His divinity.  Yes-Jesus performs miracles according to His humanity.  How this occurs, we do not know.  As God is beyond our understanding, the math does not have to add up, but we confess it is true, because it is the teaching of Scripture.  

I hope this helps you seek the answers you desire.  I understand theology can be a frustrating enterprise, because it is often more about becoming comfortable with the paradox than it is about resolving the tension.  Such is somewhat unnatural for our human minds, but it is the way of Christian theology.  


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Rev. Jason P. Peterson


I welcome the opportunity to answer questions regarding the beliefs and practices Lutheran Christians, especially questions comparing Lutherans with other Christian denominations or questions which contrast between various kinds of Lutherans. I am especially familiar with the more conservative Lutheran denominations (LCMS, ELS, WELS, etc.). I also take a great interest in examining new Christian movements and popular trends in Christianity from a Lutheran perspective. In addition, I can answer most questions about the original Greek text of the New Testament and its meaning, as well as questions regarding liturgy, evangelism, and preaching. A special area of interest in my ministry is race track chaplaincy/ministry, and I would love to provide information and guidance for anyone interested in this area.


I have been a pastor in the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod for the past six years at St. John's Lutheran Church in Burt, IA. I currently serve as chairman of the Commission on Ministerial Growth & Support of the Missouri Synod's Iowa District West and as Track Chaplain at Algona Raceway in Algona, IA. I also write as a religion columnist for two local newspapers.

Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Algona Upper Des Moines (newspaper) Bancroft Register (newspaper)

B.A. Concordia University - Ann Arbor, MI (Biblical Languages) M.Div. Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN (Exegetical Theology, Pastoral Ministry & Missions)

Past/Present Clients
Zion Lutheran Church (Columbia City, IN) Zion Lutheran Church (Altamont, IL) St. John's Lutheran Church (Burt, IA) Zion Lutheran Church (Lu Verne, IA) Algona Raceway (IA) Fairmont Raceway (MN) Hancock County Speedway (Britt, IA) Clay County Fairgrounds Raceway (Spencer, IA)

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