Large number of witnesses makes it unlikely for the appearances to be mere hallucinations
Large number of witnesses makes it unlikely for the appearances to be mere hallucinations
He showed himself to over 500 people after His resurrection (1 Cor. 15:6) which takes away the possibility of hallucination.
Resurrection Accounts and Hallucinations
The verse you are referring to is from the New Testament, specifically 1 Corinthians 15:6, which mentions that Jesus appeared to over 500 people after his resurrection. Some Christians argue that this large number of witnesses makes it unlikely for the appearances to be mere hallucinations.
However, it's important to note that the passage you mentioned is a religious text and a part of Christian scripture. The accounts of Jesus' post-resurrection appearances are primarily found in the New Testament, which holds religious significance for Christians.
From a historical perspective, it is challenging to establish the exact nature of these appearances and the experiences of those who witnessed them. The biblical accounts were written several decades after the events they describe, and they represent the beliefs and testimonies of early Christian communities.
Regarding the possibility of hallucination, it's worth noting that hallucinations can be experienced by groups of people, particularly in moments of heightened emotional or religious fervor. While the number of witnesses may make individual hallucinations less likely, it does not rule out the possibility of collective or group experiences.
Ultimately, the interpretation of these biblical accounts and their significance is a matter of personal faith and belief. Different individuals and scholars may have varying perspectives on the nature and implications of these events.
This set of sermon notes covers the main points of the sermon, Be Healed By The Washing Of The Word, preached by Pastor Prince on Sunday, 23 April 2023. We encourage you to listen to the full sermon to find out more, and receive God’s Word in season for yourself!
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There are some of us who are still waiting for God to heal us. Instead of waiting for something to happen (e.g. waiting for your specific health condition to be called out during a service), be encouraged in knowing that God has already supplied you with the provision for your healing at the cross! Our Lord Jesus’ finished work at the cross has accomplished everything for us, including our healing. Healing is a gift that God wants us to freely receive.
While there are times people are healed immediately (e.g. during a time of healing ministry), there are also times our healing manifests progressively—first thirtyfold, then sixtyfold, then a hundredfold.
We see an example of this in John 4, when our Lord Jesus healed the son of a nobleman. In this story, the Lord Jesus was in Cana when a nobleman went to Him and implored Him to follow him back home to Capernaum to heal his son who was sick.
“The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!” Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!”
—John 4:49–51 NKJV
“Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.”
—John 4:52 KJV
The Greek translation for the word “amend” is “improve.” This means that the boy progressively began to heal as his father heard the words of our Lord Jesus. The nobleman had faith in what the Lord Jesus said and his son was healed!
Here we see how the nobleman’s son was healed even though Jesus was not physically with him in Capernaum. This demonstrates to us that our Lord Jesus is a Lord of space. Even if we do not have the Lord physically with us like the people during His time, it does not stop His healing anointing from flowing into our lives!
The supply for our healing has already been provided for at the cross. Today, we simply need to receive it by faith. And faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of Christ! God is not a respecter of persons (Rom. 2:11), but He is a respecter of faith. Even if there are times we still experience symptoms in our bodies, instead of doubting whether we have been healed, have faith to believe that healing has already begun and will continue to improve as we continue to listen to the preached Word about Christ.
Pastor Prince shares a personal story of how he injured his back during the week and how the injury was causing him a lot of pain. He did everything he knew to do: pray and partake of the holy Communion. Yet, the pain still persisted. In spite of this, he chose to receive his healing in faith and believed what the Word of God says. During this time, he also felt the Lord encourage him to pray in tongues. Over the next couple of days, he noticed his condition gradually improve and by the end of the week, the pain was no more!
Pastor Prince encourages us not to depend on our emotions but to depend on God’s Word during times we feel discouraged that our healing has yet to manifest. 2 Corinthians 6:2 tells us that “now (“kairos”—God-appointed time) is the day of salvation.” We are already, right now, living in the kairos time to receive our healing. And all the provisions we need for our healing today have already been given to us. Just like how we are saved by God’s grace through faith (Eph. 2:8), we are also healed by receiving God’s grace through faith (believing and confessing)! Even when you don't feel an immediate change, thank the Lord that you are already healed and have faith that it will manifest in His appointed time!
And as we wait for our healing to manifest, we can continue to grow in faith by partaking and receiving the Lord’s love for us. Here are 2 ways we can do so:
1. Partaking of the holy Communion
When we partake of the holy Communion, it’s important that we do not just see it as a ritual. Instead, we are to partake of it out of revelation, discerning that the Lord’s body was broken so that ours can be healthy and whole today (1 Cor. 11:24, 29–30).
Leviticus 7 talks about the law of the peace offering. The peace offering is a picture of the Communion. In this offering, the breast meat of the sacrificial animal is used. The breast is a picture of the love and affection of our Lord Jesus. Whenever we partake of the holy Communion, we are partaking of the Lord’s love for us!
The law of the peace offering also specifies that the offerer has to eat of the meat the same day it was sacrificed. What this means for us today is that when we partake of the holy Communion, we are to partake of the Lord’s Supper as if He had just died. Instead of seeing His finished work at something that happened 2,000 years ago, we are to keep His finished work fresh in our hearts!
2. Praying in tongues
There are times we might not know how to pray for our health. In times like these, Pastor Prince encourages us to pray in the Spirit. Here’s a practical prayer you can say before you start praying in tongues: “Holy Spirit, I do not know how to pray for my condition, but you do. So Holy Spirit, I yield to you, pray through me.”
All the events recorded in the Bible, especially the Old Testament, are examples and ‘tupos’ (types) written for our learning and benefit today (1 Cor. 10:11). An example we can draw insights about healing from is the offering of the red heifer mentioned in Numbers 19.
Most of the offerings (e.g. sin offering, peace offering, meal offering) are usually mentioned in the book of Leviticus. This offering of the red heifer is the only offering that appears outside of the Book of Leviticus. So why is it mentioned only here in the Book of Numbers?
The Book of Numbers records the Israelites’ wilderness journey from Mount Sinai toward the promised land. The offering of the red heifer is mentioned in chapter 19, towards the end of the wilderness journey (before they traveled to Moab). This is a picture of God’s provision for us, the end-time generation. And even though the children of Israel had failed multiple times, God still provided for them. This is a picture of God’s grace and mercy for us today, and His heart to provide for us independent of our works because Jesus’ finished work at the cross has qualified us to receive God’s provisions today!
Now, let’s a closer look at the details of this offering:
“Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord has commanded, saying: ‘Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring you a red heifer without blemish, in which there is no defect and on which a yoke has never come.”
—Numbers 19:1–2 NKJV
The red heifer without blemish is a picture of our Lord Jesus, who did and knew no sin (2 Cor. 5:21). Not only that, notice how the law talks about the red heifer having no defect. This means that not only is Jesus without sin, but He is also someone with perfect moral excellence.
After the red heifer is sacrificed, it is burned with cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet, until all that is left is ashes (v. 5–6). The ashes are then put into vessels, which are then filled with running water.
Let’s take a look at the different occasions the ashes of the red heifer are used:
“Whoever in the open field touches one who is slain by a sword or who has died, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days. ‘And for an unclean person they shall take some of the ashes of the heifer burnt for purification from sin, and running water shall be put on them in a vessel. A clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water, sprinkle it on the tent, on all the vessels, on the persons who were there, or on the one who touched a bone, the slain, the dead, or a grave.”
—Numbers 19:16–18 NKJV
Here we see that the ashes of the red heifer are used to purify people who have come into contact with death. Since the red heifer is a picture of our Lord Jesus, its ashes are a picture of His finished work for us at the cross! And the running water in this offering refers to the water of His Word.
Many of us understand death as the time when our organs and body stop functioning. But death is actually a process. The Bible tells us that if we live after the flesh, we will die (Rom. 8:13). Yet, there are still many people who are living after their flesh. This shows us that death is a process. Sickness and disease are part of the process of death. But our Lord Jesus came to give us abundant life (John 10:10). And part of this abundant life is health! The Lord’s heart is for us to experience wholeness and health in all areas of our lives.
What this means for us today is that we can experience health and healing as we continually listen to messages that point us back to the finished work of our Lord Jesus, and how our sins and diseases have been fully taken at the cross. Some naysayers might come against this teaching and say that we should focus on preaching against sin. However, just like how dead brown leaves on a tree fall off when new life surges through it, the bad habits and sins in our life will fall away as we receive more of His abundant life!
The more we hear the preached Word and fill ourselves with the water of the Word, the more we will experience the Lord’s healing in our lives.
The miracle of Jesus turning water into wine is another example that highlights the importance of listening to the preached Word. It is an especially significant miracle to learn from as it’s the first miracle our Lord Jesus ever performed.
“Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.”
—John 2:6–7 NKJV
The Lord Jesus told the servants to fill the waterpots to the brim with water. This is a picture of us filling ourselves up with the water of the Word. That’s our part, and the turning of water into wine (the manifestation of our miracle) is the Lord’s part!
Wine is also a picture of joy or the power of the Holy Spirit. This signifies how the Lord will release the power of the Holy Spirit and the anointing of God in our lives through the preached Word.
Notice how it’s recorded that the waterpots were there “according to the manner of purification of the Jews?” This refers to the offering of the red heifer. We know this since Hebrews 9:13–14 tells us that:
“For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
This shows us that the ritual of purification of the Jews mentioned in John 2 is the offering of the red heifer, where the unclean is purified using the ashes of the sacrificed heifer.
“cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God” — Dead works here do not necessarily refer to sin. Instead, they primarily refer to things that we do to try to earn our right standing before God, to earn our healing. But when we try to rely on our own efforts, it is akin to us telling God that what our Lord Jesus has accomplished for us at the cross is not enough.
This is why it is so important to listen to sermons that point to the finished work of our Lord Jesus. It is when we know that our Lord Jesus has fully paid the price for our sins and our conscience is clear that we have boldness to go before God to receive the provision for our healing!
Is there a health challenge you’ve been battling for a long while? Has the long season of waiting left you wondering . . .
When will it ever be my turn to receive my healing breakthrough?
Why can’t I be healed just like the people in all the testimonies I’ve heard?
What else do I need to do to receive my healing?
If that’s you, can I encourage you to hold on to this one truth: healing is a grace gift that God wants you to freely receive. The provision for your healing was fully supplied when our Lord Jesus went to the cross for you. His body was broken, stripe after stripe, for your healing (1 Cor. 11:24, Isa. 53:5). Today, there’s nothing more you need to do other than freely receive it.
But receiving is not always instantaneous. Sometimes, it’s a process. First thirtyfold, then sixtyfold, and then a hundredfold.
So how do you keep receiving and hold out for the hundredfold—your complete healing breakthrough?
By listening, and listening, and listening again to the promises of healing from a faithful God. By listening to His Word till your heart is so full of it that there is no more room for doubt and disappointment. Let His Word encourage you, strengthen you, and grow your faith as you wait expectantly for your healing and restoration!
We hope these sermon notes blessed you! If they did, we encourage you to get the sermon and allow the Lord to speak to you personally as you watch or listen to it.
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These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.