Editorial: What became of the people who witnessed Jesus’ miracles?

The Three Marys at the Sepulchre by Il Baciccio, 1684/85

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Whatever happened to all the people Jesus healed and the crowds he fed?

The Palm Sunday throng evaporated. Not surprising. Spur-of-the-moment enthusiasm fades every week. The masses cool on political fads quicker than you can say, “yesterday’s news.”

But what about those people who watched Jesus perform bona fide miracles? And what about the blessed ones whose broken bodies he healed, whose wrecked lives he transformed?

knox newEditor Marv KnoxDo you ever wish Luke had written a special chapter of Acts, just to tell the where-are-they now stories? After Easter, what happened to once-blind Bartimaeus? Don’t forget the Samaritan woman, the woman who bled for 12 years and the synagogue leader’s resurrected daughter.

What about the man with the withered hand, Jairus and his daughter, the widow and her son and the crippled man from Capernaum, as well as the grateful leper? What did the 5,000-plus crowd Jesus fed do when news of his resurrection reached Galilee?

The Gospels record 37 miracles performed by Jesus—38 if you include the resurrection. Counting all who dined on divine dinners, thousands of people not only witnessed but also benefited from his miracles.

Haven’t you ever let your mind wander?

Maybe it’s a foolish quest, asking what became of the people who received full exposure to the Messiah. But haven’t you ever let your mind wonder? Haven’t you wished you knew what happened to the people who witnessed Jesus’ miracles, whose bodies received his healing and whose bellies he filled? Did some of them watch in silence as the Jerusalem crowd called for his crucifixion? Did they, as did his disciples, run and hide? Did they follow him after he rose from the grave?

This isn’t idle speculation.

Their story is ours.

Thanks to the Gospels, we have witnessed those 38 miracles. No, not with our own eyes. But the testimony of the Scriptures and the communion of the saints through the centuries confirm their reliability.

Beyond that, all who claim the title “Christian” bear the soul-full testimony of transformation. Our lives have been redeemed from sin, granted purpose and infused with eternal promise. Our spirits soar on the wings of hope. We are—or should be—different because of Jesus.

That task is easiest at Easter: Draped crosses, stories of an empty tomb, soaring music, packed church houses and antiphonal greetings, “Christ is Risen!” “He is risen, indeed!” They visibly, melodically, wonderfully remind us Jesus suffered and died on the cross, descended into the grave and then arose, defeating sin and evil and death, reserving eternal life for all who believe.

Easter doesn’t last forever

But Easter Sunday doesn’t last forever. The sun sets, we sleep and then rise to a new day, laden with temptation, discouragement, challenge and even happy distractions. Unless we’re mindful, the passion, clarity and joy of Easter fades. We get on with our lives—transformed because of Easter but not much different because we forget.

So, wondering what became of the people who experienced Jesus’ miracles can do a Christian good. It reminds us to ask what becomes of us. It reminds us to look to Jesus, to remember Easter, to expect Pentecost.

May the bright light of resurrection promise shine in and through our lives long after Easter sunset fades.

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