Jesus' Miracles, what do they mean?
Their are many that disbelieve in the supernatural. The Bible is a book of supernatural events. From the beginning the universe was made supernaturally. If one disbelieves the supernatural miracles of Jesus they will not be able to accept the creation account nor many of the ways God provided or lead his people throughout history.
Some will always look for a natural explanation for some things that have no natural explanation. Others will attribute a supernatural explanation when there is none. We need to look carefully at the events of Scripture to see when it is the hand of God intervening in the affairs of man.
The word miracle is used in two different ways in Scripture. First, it is used to describe an unusual or natural event that occurs at a decisive time without depending on man. This can be an answer to prayer or by the grace of God to intervene. The miracle is in the timingnot necessarily the event itself. There are examples of this type of miracle in the gospels.
Secondly, there is another type of miracle performed by God. This kind of miracle cannot be explained in a natural way, it is supernatural.
Jesus Himself appealed to miracles he caused as a testimony to His Divine character.
All the miracles of Jesus pointed to him as the Messiah. Jesus did not just heal the sick and raise the dead for the express purpose of taking suffering away, but to produce the credentials of his kingdom. Yet he did have compassion on the people and felt their suffering enough to relieve them by showing his concern through love.
From the beginning we find Jesus' ministry having miracles. From changing the water to wine for the celebration of a marriage to increasing the amount of food from the sparse amount his disciples already had.
Jesus life ministry was to physically heal so that they would know from these healings he was their Messiah. Christ performed miracles in every facet of life, in the natural and the supernatural. In Mt.8 he healed a leper which was unheard of in his day.
The four gospels records about thirty-five separate miracles Jesus performed. These were not the only ones he did, but the specific ones the writers picked out under the guidance of the holy Spirit to represent his ministry. At the end of John's gospel he says the books of the world would be filled with his miracle accounts if they were all written down. Only two of His miracles are found in all four gospels, the feeding of the five thousand and the resurrection.
In Matt. 4:23 Jesus healed every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people by some just touching the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured (Mark 6:56). And all the multitude were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all (Luke 6:19). He did all kinds of miracles and various different illnesses were healed. These include: leprosy, blindness from birth, deafness, paralysis, fever, shriveled limbs, an amputated ear, muteness, and blood hemorrhaging.
In Matthew 8:10,13 Jesus healed a centurion servant without even being present. He healed by touch and from a distance demonstrating that He is Lord of space and time.
He had control over nature by calming the seas. Matthew 8:25-27: "A great storm arose on the Sea of Galilee covering their boat with waves. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, Lord, save us! We are perishing! But He said to them, Why are you fearful, O you of little faith? Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea. And there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him? Even his disciples who were living with him could not understand how this was possible. They to were in awe of a man who could control natures rage by a word. Jesus displayed complete authority over the forces of nature. It was the same word that created all things in the book of Genesis. He did not fail once.
Christ proved he was Lord over space and time while not subject to either. All the miracles were defying natural laws.
Jesus would be a prophet like unto Moses-Just as Moses fed the people supernaturally so did the Messiah. He fed 3,000 and 5,000 people fulfilling the prophecy that He would be like Moses. When He walked on water it was similar to Moses parting the waters and walking through without getting wet. A spiritual picture of types. All miracles are pictures of spiritual truths, such as His being the resurrection. Whenever Jesus performed a miracle, it was always done for a specific purpose.
Able to forgive Sins
The Pharisees objected saying He was speaking blasphemies “only God can forgive sins" (Mt.9:6), and they were right. To dispense a legal pardon could only be done through a sacrifice and from God. To show that He, as the Son of man, had authority and that He was God, He healed the man of his palsy. He healed what they could see, proving He was able to forgive His sins that they couldn’t see.
There are three main basic miracles that would help the Jewish people recognize the Messiah when he came.
1) Healing of a Jewish leper- from the time of Moses and the completing of the Mosaic law no leper had been healed in Israel. No Jewish man was healed of leprosy, Mariam and Nathan were not Jews (Mt.8:2-4 Lk.5:12-16 Mk.1:40-45). 2) Healing and casting out a dumb demon- showing he had power over the visible and invisible realm, 3) the healing of a blind man from birth Jn.9:1-32 only the messiah could heal someone that was blind.
Jesus demonstrated His authority was over life and death. While He spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler came and worshiped Him, saying, My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live. . . . And when Jesus came into the rulers house, and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd wailing, He said to them, Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping. And they laughed Him to scorn. But when the crowd was put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose (Matthew 9:18,23-25).
Even death was subject to His authority. On three occasions He raised someone from the dead. Jairus daughter who had just died (Matthew 9:18-26), the widow of Nains son who was in the coffin (Luke 7:11-15), and Lazarus Jn.11. Lazarus was left dead for 4 days as the ultimate proof that he could raise one whose corpse started to rot.
Many say that Jesus' followers made legends out of him and invented supernatural stories. However, one of the factors is the brief time that elapsed between Jesus' miraculous public ministry and the publication of the gospels was insufficient for the development of miracle legends. Many eyewitnesses to Jesus' miracles would have still been alive to refute any untrue miracle accounts (see 1 Corinthians 15:6).
One needs to acknowledge the character of the men who witnessed these miracles (Peter, James, and John, for example) and reported it. Such men had no intention of lying, exaggerating, or to misrepresent the truth of the miracles.
Jesus said “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” (John 10:37-38). They would vindicate his personhood. He knew if they considered these it should lead them to the only conclusion that he was indeed who he claimed to be, their creator.
The miracles were DONE PUBLICLY
The Apostle Paul said in Acts 26:25,26 I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner.
On the day of Pentecost Peter stood up and boldly claimed "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" (Acts 2:22). This would have been debunked if it were not true, they would have laughed him out of town.
No one, in the early centuries, ever denied His miraculous power.
Jesus and Prophecy
Jesus predicted that the city of Jerusalem would be destroyed. Forty years before it occurred, Jesus gave specifics to its destruction:
Jesus spoke of the temple being destroyed and the manner of its destruction. Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came to Him to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down" (Matthew 24:1,2). Just as he predicted the Romans came in stripped the gold off the glorious temple and tore down the stones.
After this he prophesied that they would be led away until a certain time, "they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. Finally Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (Luke 21:24).
Jesus spoke of his coming death prophetically. Herein lies an enormous amount of prophecy which was beyond human capability to control. 30 of the Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in one day.
Jesus also predicted the circumstances surrounding His death and who would be involved.
The LAST Sign to Israel
From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed (Matthew 16:21).
Jesus also predicted the timing of His death would occur during the Passover celebration, and how it would occur by would be by means of crucifixion.
You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified (Matthew 26:2).
Hebrew text of Jonah 2:1 actually reads "great fish" not a "whale." Despite those who claim this is not possible we do find proof it is.
There are sea creatures with the capability of swallowing a human being whole. Sperm whales have been known to swallow unusually large objects, including a fifteen-foot long shark! (Frank T. Bullen, Cruise of the Cachalot Round the World After Sperm Whales, London: Smith, 1898 documents this). Both the whale shark, and the blue whale, that are located in this part of the world are able of swallowing a man whole. There are incidents like Jonah's known to occur. Two documented reports of men that have been swallowed by large sea creatures lived to tell about it.
In 1771 Marshall Jenkins, was swallowed alive by a sperm whale and survived. Another was James Bartley. In 1891, a sperm whale that his whaling crew had harpooned swallowed Bartley. The whale got away, but was found and killed shortly afterwards. Bartley was found alive, but unconscious, in the stomach of the whale. He was revived and regained his health in a few short weeks (Ambrose James Wilson, Princeton Theological Revue, October, 1928).
Jesus used the historicity of Jonah's account to confirm his own death and resurrection. Jesus told the religious leaders of His day that the sign of Jonah was going to be the last sign, of his resurrection: "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matthew 12:39-40).
Its not that Jonah lived three days and nights in the fish but that he actually died and resurrected. The Bible teaches that Jesus was literally dead and then resurrected from the dead. The resurrection of Christ is treated as a historical fact just as the account of Jonah is.
Where are the prophecies and miracles of Mohammed in the Koran? Or Joseph Smith of the Mormons who gave the book of Mormon. Baha'u'llah, Buddha. You name the famous religious person, and what they will lack is predictive prophecy fulfilled and prophecy from their own mouths coming to pass far in the future.
It is quite clear, there never was or will be anyone like Jesus.