Jesus of Nazareth, God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power; who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with Him.
– Acts 10:38
The miracles of Jesus are some of the most noteworthy stories in all of human history. His compassion, power, and ability was awe-inspiring in the First Century and should still be today. As we begin to shift the focus of our study towards His role as the Messiah, we must begin with these moments of supernatural wonder and awe. They are evidence that He wasn’t just any other teacher or prophet, He was the Son of God.
We begin by asking the question, what is a miracle? The classical description of a miracle is something that overrules the laws of nature (i.e. cures sickness without medicine, raises someone from the dead, opening the womb of a barren mother, or teaches without the person inherently possessing knowledge). It is supernatural and cannot be explained by natural events. Throughout the Old Testament, we see examples of miracles in the lives of Abraham, Moses, and the prophets. Miracles are not something that began with Christ.
Miracles were genuine events that could not be explained without God or one of God’s messengers. Consider Nicodemus words to Christ in John 3:2, which says, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Even though many of the Hebrews didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah, they couldn’t argue with His abilities.
There are at least 34 confirmed miracles in the Gospels done by Jesus. The can be divided into three unique categories:
(a) The healing of sickness, disabilities, or demon possession. Consider passages like Matthew 9:27-31 where He healed two blind men; Luke 17:11-19 when He healed two lepers; or John 5:1-9 when He healed the sick man at the Pool of Bethesda.
(b) The raising of people from the dead. Three instances occurred in the gospels when He healed Jairus’ daughter in Matthew 9:18-26; the widow’s son at Nain in Luke 7:11-17; and Lazarus in John 11:1-44. We must also consider the raising of His own life a miracle in this category. It was just as much a miracle that He did it on His own than to if He did it to another.
(c) His power and control over nature. Consider Jesus walking on water in Mark 6:47-52; turning water into wine in John 2:1-11; or even feeding the five thousand in Luke 9:10-17. His birth also falls under this category due to its supernatural sidestepping of the natural birth process.
The difference between the miracles of Christ and the miracles performed by others in Scripture is the source of the power. Christ didn’t have to be granted the power to perform miracles, He could because He was God (see John 10:30; 17:21). His inherent abilities separate His miracles from the miracles performed elsewhere. They are a clear indication that He is God, not just sent from God.
Another thing worth noting is that His miracles almost always elicited a response from those who witnessed them. Remember Nicodemus from John 3. Consider the following passages as well and look for the common theme:
Mark 2:11-12 which says, “Jesus spoke to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.’ Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!’”
Mark 5:42 says, “Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement.”
Mark 6:51 says, “Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure and marveled.”
Mark 7:37 says, “they were astonished beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.'”
Did you notice what is consistently found in those who witnessed the miracles of Christ? They were astonished, amazed, and fully aware that something beyond them had happened. We also know that not all of Christ’s miracles were revealed to us through Scripture. John 20:30-31 tells us that Jesus did “many other signs…which are not recorded in this book.”
As I look back at the miracles of Jesus, I’m in awe of His desire to heal the sick, restore the sight of the blind, and proclaim the power of God with a single moment. May we honor them for what they are, grand gestures of God’s power and sovereignty in this world.
All Scripture is taken from the New King James Version. Copyright (c) 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by Permission. All rights reserved.