Prophet Isa al Masih’s (PBUH) Word of Authority over Nature

Surah Adh-Dhariyat (Surah 51 – The Winnowing Winds) describes how the Prophet Musa PBUH was sent to Pharaoh.

And in Moses (was another Sign): Behold, We sent him to Pharaoh, with authority manifest. (Surah Adh-Dhariyat 51:38)

The Prophet Musa manifested or showed his authority by miraculous powers over nature, including the parting of the Red Sea.  Whenever someone claimed to be a prophet (as Musa had) he faced opposition and had to prove that he was worthy of trust as a prophet.  Notice the pattern as Surah Ash-Shu’ara (Surah 26 – The Poets) describes this cycle of rejection and proof that prophets have undergone.

The people of Noah rejected the apostles.

Behold, their brother Noah said to them: “Will ye not fear (God)?

“I am to you an apostle worthy of all trust: (Surah Ash-Shu’ara 26:105-107)

The ‘Ad (people) rejected the apostles.

Behold, their brother Hud said to them: “Will ye not fear (God)?

“I am to you an apostle worthy of all trust:

“So fear God and obey me. (Surah Ash-Shu’ara 26:123-126)

The Thamud (people) rejected the apostles.

Behold, their brother Salih said to them: “Will you not fear (God)?

“I am to you an apostle worthy of all trust.

“So fear God, and obey me. (Surah Ash-Shu’ara 26:141-144)

The people of Lut rejected the apostles.

Behold, their brother Lut said to them: “Will ye not fear (God)?

“I am to you an apostle worthy of all trust.

“So fear God and obey me. (Surah Ash-Shu’ara 26:160-163)

The Companions of the Wood rejected the apostles.

Behold, Shu’aib said to them: “Will ye not fear (God)?

“I am to you an apostle worthy of all trust.

“So fear God and obey me. (Surah Ash-Shu’ara 26:176-179)

These prophets all faced rejection and it was their burden to prove that they were prophets worthy of trust.  This was also true for the Prophet Isa al Masih.

The Prophet Isa al Masih (PBUH) had authority in teaching and healing ‘with a word’.  He also had authority over nature.  The Injil records how he crossed the lake with his disciples in such a way that filled them with ‘fear and amazement’.  Here is the account:

22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. 23 As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”  (Luke 8:22-25)

The word of Isa al Masih (PBUH) commanded even the wind and the waves!  No wonder the disciples who were there with him were filled with fear.  Such authority to command made them wonder who he was.  On another occasion when he was with thousands of people he showed similar authority.  This time he did not command wind and wave – but food.  Here is the account:

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.  (John 6:1-15)

When the people saw that Isa al Masih (PBUH) could multiply food so that five loaves and two fish could feed 5000 men and still provide left-overs they knew he was a unique prophet.  They wondered if he was the Prophet that the Taurat of Musa (PBUH) had predicted long ago would come.  We know that Isa al Masih (PBUH) was indeed this Prophet because the Taurat had said of this Prophet that

I (Allah) will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that The Prophet speaks in my name. (Deuteronomy 18: 18-19)

The Sign of this Prophet was that Allah would put His very ‘words in the mouth’ of this Prophet.  What separates the Words of Allah from that of men?  The answer is repeated in the following ayat, starting with Surah An-Nahl (Surah 16 – The Bee):

For to anything which We have willed, We but say the word, “Be”, and it is. (An-Nahl 16:40)

Verily, when He intends a thing, His Command is, “be”, and it is! (Ya-sin 36: 82)

It is He Who gives Life and Death; and when He decides upon an affair, He says to it, “Be”, and it is. (Ghafir 40:68)

The prophet Isa al Masih (PBUH) healed diseases and cast out evil spirits simply ‘with a word’.  Now we see that he speaks a Word and the wind and waves obey.  Then he Speaks and the bread multiplies.  These Signs in the Taurat and Quran explain why when Isa al Masih spoke, it came to be – because he had authority.  He was the Masih!

Hearts to understand

But the disciples themselves had a hard time understanding this.  They did not understand the significance of multiplying the bread.  We know this because the Injil records that right after the feeding of the 5000 that:

45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.

47 Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified.

Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.

53 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. 55 They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.  (Mark 6:45-56)

Again, the prophet Isa al Masih spoke a Word of Authority and it came to ‘be’. But the disciples did ‘not understand’.  The reason that they did not understand was not that they were not intelligent; it was not because they were not there; not because they were bad disciples; nor was it because they were unbelievers.  No, it says that their ‘hearts were hardened’.  The Prophet Jeremiah (PBUH) had prophesied that a New Covenant was coming – with the Law going to be written inside our hearts.  Until that Covenant has changed someone their heart is hard – even the hearts of close followers of The Prophet!  And our own hard hearts keep us also from understanding the spiritual truth revealed by the prophets.

This is why the preparing work of the Prophet Yahya (PBUH) is so important.  He called people to repent by confessing their sin instead of trying to hide it.  If the disciples of Isa al Masih had hard hearts that needed repenting and confessing of sin, how much more you and me!  Perhaps you will join with me in praying silently in your heart to Allah (He knows even our thoughts so we can pray simply by thinking) in the confession given by Dawud (PBUH):

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion blot out my sins.
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge….

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me and lead me to understand your Revelation. (Psalm 51:1-4, 10-12)

I pray this and I encourage you to do so also that the Messages of the Prophets will be understood by soft and pure hearts as we continue in the Injil.

The Prophet Isa (PBUH) heals: by Word of Authority

Surah ‘Abasa (Surah 80 – He Frowned) records the Prophet Mohamed PBUH encountering a blind man.

(The Prophet) frowned and turned away, Because there came to him the blind man (interrupting). But what could tell thee but that perchance he might grow (in spiritual understanding)? (Surah ‘Abasa 80:1-3)

Though there was opportunity for spiritual understanding, the prophet Mohamed PBUH did not heal the blind man.  The Prophet Isa al Masih PBUH was unique among prophets in how he could and did heal the blind. He had an authority that was not displayed by other prophets, even prophets like Prophet Musa, Prophet Ibrahim and the Prophet Mohamed (PBUT). He was the only prophet ever who had the authority to meet the specific challenge given in Surah Ghafir (Surah 43 – The Forgiver)

Canst thou then make the deaf to hear, or give direction to the blind or to such as (wander) in manifest error? (Surah Ghafir 43:40)

Surah Al-Maida (Surah 5 – The Table Spread), describes the miracles of Isa al Masih in the following way:

when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, remember My favor upon you and upon your mother when I supported you with the Holy Spirit and you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity; and [remember] when I taught you writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and when you designed from clay [what was] like the form of a bird with My permission, then you breathed into it, and it became a bird with My permission; and you healed the blind and the leper with My permission; and when you brought forth the dead with My permission; and when I restrained the Children of Israel from [killing] you when you came to them with clear proofs and those who disbelieved among them said, “This is not but obvious magic.” (al-Maida, Surah 5:110)

Surah Ali-Imran (Surah 3 – Family of Imran) further describes his authority in miracles

“And (appoint him) an apostle to the Children of Israel, (with this message): “‘I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by God’s leave: And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I quicken the dead, by God’s leave; and I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if ye did believe;

“‘(I have come to you), to attest the Law which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was (Before) forbidden to you; I have come to you with a Sign from your Lord. So fear God, and obey me. (Surah Al-Imran 3:49-50)

The blind see, the lepers healed, the dead raised! That is why Surah al-Maida (5:110) says Isa al Masih PBUH showed ‘clear signs’ and Surah Al-Imran (3:49-50) declares that his Sign was ‘for you’ ‘from your Lord’.  Would it not be foolish to ignore the meaning of these powerful signs?

We will see how the Injil describes these miracles of the Prophet in greater detail and why the Holy Books call him ‘Word of God’.

Previously we saw that the Prophet Isa al Masih (PBUH) taught with great authority, using authority that only the Masih could have.  Right after finishing teaching this Sermon on the Mount the Injil records that:

When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”  (Matthew 8:1-4)

The Prophet Isa (PBUH) now shows his authority by healing a man with leprosy.  He simply said ‘Be clean’ and he was both cleansed and healed.  His words had authority to heal as well as teach.

Then Isa (PBUH) had an encounter with an ‘enemy’.  Romans were the hated occupiers of Jewish land at that time.  Jews viewed the Romans at that time like how some Palestinians feel towards the Israelis today.  The most hated (by the Jews) were the Roman soldiers who often abused their power.  Worse still were the Roman officers – the ‘centurions’ who commanded these soldiers.  Isa (PBUH) now encounters such a hated ‘enemy’.  Here is how they met:

Isa al Masih (PBUH) and a Centurion

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.  (Matthew 8:5-13)

The words of the Masih had such authority that he simply said the command and it happened from a distance!  But what amazed Isa (PBUH) was that only this pagan ‘enemy’ had the faith to recognize the power of his Word – that the Masih had authority to Say and it would Be.  The man we expect to have no faith (because he was from the ‘wrong’ people and the ‘wrong’ religion), from the words of Isa (PBUH), would one day join in the feast of paradise with Ibrahim and the other righteous, while those from the ‘correct’ religion and the ‘correct’ people would not.  Isa (PBUH) warns us that it is not religion nor heritage that guarantees paradise.

Jesus raises the dead daughter of a synagogue leader

This does not mean that Isa al Masih (PBUH) did not heal Jewish leaders.  In fact, one of his most powerful miracles was his raising of the dead daughter of a synagogue leader.  The Injil records it like this:

40 Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. 41 Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house 42 because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.

As Jesus was on his way … someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.”

50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”

51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.”

53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. 56 Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.  (Luke 8:40-56)

Once again, simply by a Word of Command, Jesus raised a young girl from death.  It is not religion or lack of religion, being Jewish or not, that kept Isa al Masih (PBUH) from doing miracles to heal people.  Wherever he found faith, regardless of their sex, race or religion he would exercise authority to heal.

Isa al Masih (PBUH) heals many, including friends

The Injil also records that Isa (PBUH) went to the house of Peter, who would later become the chief speaker among his 12 disciples (companions).  When he got there he saw a need and served.  As it is written:

14 When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.

16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

“He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.”  (Matthew 8:14-17)

He had authority over evil spirits which he cast out from people simply ‘with a word’.  The Injil then reminds us that the Zabur had predicted that the miraculous healings would be a sign of the Masih’s arrival.  In fact the prophet Isaiah (PBUH) had also prophesied in another passage by speaking on behalf of the coming Masih that:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me (‘anointed’ = ‘Masih’) to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  (Isaiah 61: 1-3)

The Prophet Isaiah had predicted (750 B.C.) that the Masih would bring ‘good news’ (= ‘gospel’ = ‘injil’) to the poor and comfort, free and release people.  Teaching, healing the sick, and raising the dead were the ways that the prophet Isa (PBUH) fulfilled this prophecy.  And he did all these things simply by speaking a Word of authority to people, to disease, to evil spirits and even to death itself.  This is why Surah al-Imran calls him:

Behold the angels said: “Oh Mary! Allah gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of those nearest to Allah”   Surah 3:45 (Al-Imran)

And the Injil, likewise says of Isa (PBUH) that

… and his name is the Word of God. (Revelation 19: 13)

The prophet Isa (PBUH), as the Masih, had such authority of speech that he was also called ‘Word from God’ and ‘Word of God’.  Since this is what he is called in the Holy Books, we are wise to respect and obey his teachings.  Next we see how Nature obeys his Word.