Design of Jesus’ Miracles
Jesus performed a wide variety of supernatural events and feats in many different places, times, manners and upon different subjects and things. But why did He do so many different miracles? What purpose did these serve?
Confirmation of the Word
Anyone can make a claim to be someone. But can they prove it? Jesus made many claims. He claimed to be the Son of God (John 10:35-37). He claimed to be the Messiah (John 4:25-26) and the Savior of the world (John 14:6). His miracles served as proof of His identity.
Mohammed performed no miracles attesting the divinity of his mission. Jesus did. So did His disciples. “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs” (Mark 16:20).
Miracles serve as Indispensable proofs of revelation. Without miracles there would have been incomplete evidence backing up Jesus’ claims and the authority of His teaching. The Bible is a supernatural book in that God is it’s author. It needs supernatural evidence. Mathematical truth requires a mathematical demonstration, so supernatural truth requires supernatural attestation.
Compassion for Suffering Sinners
What is God like? What does God feel? How does God respond to human suffering? God is loving enough and powerful enough and willing to help the suffering. Jesus performed miracles to show compassion and meet human need. Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” (Mark 1:41). Often these healing miracles lay emphasis on Jesus’ touching the sufferer. Contagion quarantine rules the untouchables. Jesus’ ultimate goal was “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Forgiveness of sins was of greater concern to Him than physical healings.
Miracles were performed to produce faith in the hearts of those who witnessed them and those who believe the eye-witnesses’ accounts. “And truly 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” (John 20:30-31).
Consummation of Prophecy
If Jesus did not perform signs, wonders, and miracles, many prophecies could not have been fulfilled. John the Baptist sent two of his disciples to Jesus’ to ask if He was the coming one. “And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Matthew 11:2-5).
Jesus quoted from the passage in Isaiah 61 while in the synagogue at Nazareth, and indicated that it was fulfilled in him (Luke 4:18–21). “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1). This is not talking about a prophet, but He who had been appointed to be the Mediator of a new covenant, the light of the Gentiles, the salvation of Jehovah for the whole world. Jesus who read this in the synagogue at Nazareth applied it entirely to Himself (Luke 4:17,18,21).
Confirmation of His Deity
If aliens were to arrive on earth form a distance galaxy we would expect proof. Perhaps their advanced technology and their different characteristics would result in belief. In John chapter five it gives five proofs of Jesus deity: 1) His own testimony (5:31); 2) the witness of John the Baptist (5:33-35); 3) the testimony of God the Father (5:37); 4) the Word of God (5:38-39) and 5) the works Jesus performed. “But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me” (John 5:36; also see 20:30-31).
Certification as the Messiah
When John doubted His Messiahship, Jesus pointed to the miracles (Matthew 11:2-5). When Nicodemas came to Jesus He realized that Jesus was sent from God because of the miracles. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “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” (John 3:20).
Command over Satan
Jesus power to cast out demons were demonstrations of His superior power and authority over that of Satan. When the Pharisees accused Him of casting out demons by the power of Satan He argued, “how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house” (Matthew 12:29).
Coming of the Kingdom
Jesus’ miracles were signs of the presence of the kingdom of God (Matt. 12:39). He said, “but if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Luke 11:20).
The power of the miracles, signs, and wonders was to result in sinners coming to repentance. Jesus warned, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes” (Mt. 11:21).
Clarifying Spiritual Truths
If Jesus healed lepers and cast out demons what difference does it make for us today? Many of Jesus’ miracles contained deep spiritual truths and insights. These went beyond the material and natural realm to demonstrate important aspects of the spiritual realm. When Jesus claimed the power to give life by raising the dead, it alluded to the reality He can give eternal life to all. “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will” (John 5:21).After claiming to be the resurrection and the life (John 11:25), Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. He claimed to be the Bread of Life after feeding the 5000. He claimed to be the light of the World by bringing a blind man out of a lifetime of darkness. The healing of lepers illustrates the removal of sins’ loathsome defilement.
When Jesus healed ten lepers the one who returned to give thanks taught a lesson on gratitude. He pointed out the great faith of some when He healed. And, He healed to show his power to forgive sins. The lessons found in the two thousand year old miracles of Jesus are still of great relevance to the spiritual life and development of men and women today.
Perhaps miracles give us a glimpse of Heaven or the way things were suppose to be without sin in this world. A place where there is no sickness and dying. A realm where demons and Satan does not afflict the souls of men. An environment where storms do not threaten. Tim Keller comments, “We modern people think of miracles as the suspension of the natural order, but Jesus meant them to be the restoration of the natural order.
– Daniel R. Vess