Miracles of Jesus

miracles of Jesus

The miracles of Jesus were spectacular displays of power that told the world that He was and is the Christ, the Son of God.  To some, Jesus was calling on the power of the devil to suspend the laws of nature, healing the sick, casting out demons, feeding five thousand with only a child’s lunchbox, or walking on water. 

On the day of Pentecost, the apostles Peter addressed a Jewish audience and launches into a sermon about Jesus. 

Acts 2.22:  “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know”

Peter begins this Christ centered sermon by point out how God testified of Jesus by miracles.  In other words, the God worked through Jesus by allowing the miracles of Jesus to show people that Jesus was His Son. 

In this verse, Peter employed three words to describe the supernatural.

  • Miracles:  Supernatural events.
  • Wonders:  How people reacted to these supernatural events.
  • Signs:  The reason behind these supernatural events.

The Miracles of Jesus:
What are Miracles, Wonders and Signs?

Miracles, wonders, and signs, each describe different aspects of a supernatural event.  A miracle is the supernatural even itself.  A wonder is the reaction people had toward the miracle.  A sign is the reason behind the miracle, and it was to indicate something.  Let's give some thought to each of these in detail.

What is a Miracle?

Miracles are supernatural events demonstrating the power of God.  By definition, they are events that cannot be explained by the laws of science and nature. 

According to Dictionary.com, a miracle is “an effect or an extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed as a supernatural cause.”

Have you ever heard the phrase, “the miracle of childbirth?”  Childbirth is a wonderful and incredible event, but it happens within the laws of science and nature.  It is not technically a miracle.  Have you ever left the house a few minutes late only to see a serious accident on the highway?  Have you ever thought that it was a miracle that you avoided the accident?

I have no doubt that God is involved in our lives providentially (non-miraculous involvement), but we cannot call something a miracle unless it has defied the laws of science and nature.  The world is filled with astonishing and extraordinary occurrences, but to call them miracles is to cheapen the whole concept of the miracles of Jesus.

When I take the word “miracle” in the Bible and look at the original language, I find the word “dunamis.”  According to the Greek dictionary, the word dunamis is defined as “force; power"  [Strong].  According to Vine’s dictionary of New Testament Words, miracles are “Works of a supernatural origin and character, such as could not be produced by natural agents and means”

God is powerful, and the miracles of Jesus display the power of God.  God wrote the laws of nature, and God can, at any time, manipulate the laws of nature or even suspend them altogether.

What is a Wonder?

The miracles of Jesus were supernatural events that cannot be defined by the laws of science and nature.  Wonders describes the way people react to the miracles of Jesus.  A miracle is performed and people react with wonderment.  Thus these miracles are sometimes called “wonders.”

According to W. E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, “wonders” are defined as something that “causes the beholder to marvel.” 

In John 1, we read about a man named Nathanael walking in the direction of Jesus.  

John 1.47,48:  "Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, ‘Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!’  Nathanael said to Him, ‘How do You know me?’  Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.’”

In the very next verse, Nathanael responded to Jesus with amazement and said...

John 1.49:  “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

Notice how Jesus replied to Nathanael’s declaration...

John 1.50:  “Because I said to you, 'I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe? You will see greater things than these”

Jesus would do many great miracles that would evoke a reaction much like Nathanael’s. 

  • Jesus cast out a demon.  The people “were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, ‘What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.’”  (Luke 4.36)
  • Jesus healed a man who was paralyzed.  The people “were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, ‘We have seen strange things today!’”  (Luke 5.26).
  • Jesus calmed the winds and the sea.  The people “were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, ‘Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!’”  (Luke 8.25).

A wonder is a miraculous event that evokes a reaction of wonderment. 

What is a Sign?

Signs refer to the reason behind the miracles of Jesus.  These miracles were not done just for show.  They had a reason behind them.  What was the significance?  What did these supernatural events (miracles), which causes such amazement (wonders) mean?

A traffic signal will indicate something.  It will indicate whether you should stop, go, or slow down.  These miracles indicated something. 

In Matthew 16.1-4, there was a conversation that took place between Jesus and members of two religions factions, the Pharisees and Sadducees. 

Matthew 16.1:  “Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven.” 

Jesus had been claiming to be the Christ, the Son of God.  He had been performing a variety of miracles indicating that He was exactly who He claimed to be.  Now these Pharisees and Sadducees come along and ask to see another sign from heaven. 

In Mark's account found in Mark 8, it says that Jesus was so wearied by their request that “He sighed deeply in His spirit”  (Mark 8.12).  Jesus performed miracle after miracle proving Himself to be the Son of God.  What do these Pharisees and Sadducees do?  They ask for another sign.

Mark 16.2-4:  “He answered and said to them, "When it is evening you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red';  and in the morning, 'It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.”

These Pharisees and Sadducees could predict the weather.    The rays of the sun would mix with the atmosphere of the sky making it red.  They can look at the sky and tell what kind of weather is coming.

Here is the point that Jesus makes.  They had the ability to look at the sky.  The weather pattern that they would observe would be a sign, an indication of what kind of weather was coming.  In the same way, they should be able to see the miracles that Jesus performed, and know that they indicated the identity of Jesus. 

A miracle indicates the source as being supernatural.  A wonder indicates the emotional reaction to the supernatural.  A sign indicates the intellectual reaction to the supernatural as one tries to understand the meaning behind the miracle. 

All three of these are found in Acts 2:

  • Miracle:  “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance”  (Acts 2.4).
  • Wonder:  “Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, ‘Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?’”  (Acts 2.7)
  • Sign:  “So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘Whatever could this mean?’”  (Acts 2.12)

The miracles of Jesus were wonders which indicated something.  But what did these miracles indicate?

Miracles of Jesus:  The Design of Miracles

God has never expected us to just accept the facts without proof.  He has always provided evidence so that we not only believe, but we have reason to know that what we believe is true.

Miracles always had a single, primary purpose.  The miracles of Jesus were designed to verify and prove that what was being said was true. 

Many of the Jews did not believe that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God.  During an intense conversation between the Jesus and the Jews, they asked Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly”  (John 10.24).  Notice how Jesus answered them.

John 10.25:  “Jesus answer them, ‘I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me.’” 

As the conversation continued Jesus said...

John 10.37,38:  “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me;  but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”

If you do not believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, then the miracles are there to confirm that He is exactly who He claimed to be.

He healed all kinds of diseases, exercised power over the natural elements of the world, and even raised the dead.  Consider just a handful of examples.

Toward the end of the gospel of John, we are told that...

John 20.30,31:  “Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

All of these miracles were supernatural events which were wondrous visible displays of power indicating as a sign that Jesus was and is the Son of God.

Miracles are incredible, visible displays of the power of God, but miracles were not performed for altruistic reasons.  They were not done as a display of God’s compassion and mercy.  They were done with a specific purpose on mind -- to make the message believable.  The miracles of Jesus prove that Jesus is the Son of God giving us confidence in our faith in Him.

> Miracles of Jesus

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