All four gospels highlight the life of Jesus Christ by placing emphasis on His miracles. These miracles were special signs designed by God to shock the senses of those watching and to focus their attention on the true identity of this Carpenter from Nazareth. As the God-Man, Jesus Christ demonstrated immediate power over nature, angels, disease, demons and death.
The Apostle John was Impressed
Seven specific signs performed by Jesus as recorded in the Book of John leave no doubt as to His true identity. These signs prove that He was God manifest in the flesh (Jn. 1:14). Here’s the apostle’s self-proclaimed reason for recording these miracles:
“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, and believing, you might have life through his name.” (John 20:30-31)
- Water into Wine
His first miracle of turning water into wine was performed at the wedding in Cana (Jn. 2:1-11). It was not mere chance that Jesus chose a wedding as the place to begin to reveal His identity. A wedding is a picture of the relationship between the Lord Jesus (described in the Bible as the bridegroom), with His bride, which is the church (Eph. 5:32). The attendants were instructed to fill the pots with water, and then simply to “draw some out now and take to the governor of the feast.” Indeed, the water had been turned into a choice wine.
Psalms 33:9 says, “He spoke, and it was done.” Most of the miracle-signs were accomplished by Christ’s spoken word.
Jesus had earlier told Nathanael that he would see God coming down to man (Jn. 1:51). That promise was now fulfilled, because now the God-Man was in action. Only God could have such power over nature. This was just the beginning of His miracles designed to shed light upon his identity, and to provoke belief in Him.
“This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested his glory; and His disciples believed in Him.” (Jn. 2:11)
- ‘Your son will live’
If the Lord Jesus were the God-Man, an ideal way for Him to reveal this would be for Him to heal diseases. This is exactly what happened. This second miracle is the healing of the official’s son in Capernaum (Jn. 4:46-54). The official had probably spent much money and tried every local medical means to heal his son, all with no success.
His frustration had led him to the little village of Cana, hoping against hope that this One whom He had heard about could indeed save His son from death. The Lord Jesus quietly and calmly announced to the officer, “You may go. Your son will live” (Jn. 4:50). At the moment that Jesus spoke these words the disease left the boy. The officer later verified this when he returned home and inquired about the exact time that the boy made his comeback. The result was new believers in Jesus Christ.
“And he himself believed, and his whole household.” (Jn. 4:53b)
- Healing the Crippled Man
In every case of healing, there was an emphasis on the hopelessness of the various situations. This was certainly the case when Jesus healed the crippled man at the pool of Bethesda (Jn. 5:1-16). This man had been crippled for 38 years. Jesus healed with His spoken word, just as He did when He changed the water into wine and when He healed the nobleman’s son. “And immediately he was made well” (vs. 9). This was the work of Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals.
- A Headline Maker
The next miracle-sign must have been very important, because it is the only miracle to merit discussion in all four gospels. Unlike the first three miracles, this miracle was performed in the midst of a large audience. This miracle is, of course, the feeding of the multitude (Jn. 6:5-14). Jesus’ question to Philip, “Where are we going to buy enough bread to feed all of these people?” did not mean that Jesus needed the information. It was a question designed to teach, because it underlined the fact of the hopeless situation to the disciples. There was no human way to get the amount of food needed, even if money were no object.
It was a test designed to strengthen the faith of the disciples. God sometimes tests us in similar ways (James 1:2;I Peter 1:7). He puts us into humanly impossible situations that only He can take care of.
All Andrew could come up with after surveying the crowd was a boy’s lunch of five barley loaves and two fish. As the Good Shepherd made the sheep to lie down in green pastures in the Twenty-third Psalm, Jesus made the people sit down on the grass. He then blessed the food and began to distribute it.
The disciples suddenly became waiters. Back and forth they went, filling up the baskets over and over again. Here was proof positive that they were in the presence of God Himself. This was another part of the disciple’s education. These twelve baskets of leftovers were visible proof that Jesus Christ is God and that He is more than adequate to meet their needs (Jn. 6:12-14).
- ‘Do not be afraid’
The miracle-sign that John next writes about took place on the Sea of Galilee, where the Lord Jesus demonstrated His power over nature. It was three o’clock in the morning and the disciples were on a perilous fishing trip. They were caught in the middle of a huge lake in a storm. The wind blew with such fury that they made no progress rowing against it. They were trapped, and they were scared. They were in for a much greater shock, however, when they caught sight of the Lord Jesus walking near them on the water. Jesus spoke to them: “I am, be not afraid.” Remember that it was with this phrase “I am” that Jesus described Himself in John 8:58. Here is the Eternal One, the Son of the Living God, walking on the water. When they welcomed Him into the boat, instantly, miraculously, they were on the shore.
- Healing the Blind Man
The sixth miracle that John chose to include is the healing of a man who had been blind from birth. With this miracle-sign, the Lord Jesus provided insight into God’s purpose for recording special acts of healing in the Word.
A question from a disciple and the answer from Jesus provide insight into why Jesus chose to heal the blind man.
“Master, has this man sinned or his parents that he should be born blind? Neither has this man sinned nor his parents, but that the works of God should be revealed in Him.” (Jn. 9:2-3)
God raised this blind man up in order that the identity of the One who was going to heal him might be revealed. Thus the miracle of God that day, verified by the eyesight given to the blind man along with his testimony to those who witnessed it, exposed the true identity of the One doing the healing.
It was never God’s intent just to bring attention to the act of healing itself, nor on the person who was healed. Instead, it appears that God did this to bring favorable attention to the Healer. It obviously wasn’t God’s ultimate purpose to alleviate suffering, but simply to focus the attention of human beings onto the identity and message of His Son. If God had wished to end suffering, then Jesus Christ could and would have healed everyone in Israel. While on the subject of suffering, note this: the Bible reveals that God often uses suffering to reveal qualities about Himself to Hi s children (1 Peter 1:3-9). The believer in Christ is not called from suffering but to suffer for His name.
- Come forth!
The last of the seven miracle-signs recorded by John is the revealing illustration of the miraculous power of the God-Man in the raising of His friend Lazarus from the dead (Jn. 11:1-53). Jesus first gave the reason for the sickness and ultimate death of his friend, Lazarus.
“He said, ‘This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (Jn. 11:4)
“These things He said, and after that He said to them, ‘Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” (Jn. 11:11)
“Then Jesus said to them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless, let us go to him.” (Jn. 11:15)
John took great care to reveal the utter hopelessness of the situation.
“So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days.” (Jn. 11:17)
Once again, the miracle was accomplished by the spoken word of Jesus Christ. The God-Man said to the one who was dead, “Lazarus, come forth!” (Jn. 11:43).
Lazarus only needed to hear it once, and at the instant he heard it, he gained new physical life.
“And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave-cloths, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Loose him, and let him go.” (Jn.11:44)
He immediately lived, and only God can give life. But, had it been the Lord’s desire to give life to the dead, He could have given life to every person in the cemetery that day.
The grand result of these signs was faith in Christ by a portion of the witnesses. The results were that many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him (Jn. 11:45).
He is the God-Man
Jesus Christ is the God-Man. He performed miracle after miracle, doing things that no man had ever done. His goodness exposed the evil of that generation. When it was time for Him to ascend into heaven to take His place at the right hand of the father (Acts 1:9; Heb. 10:12), God the Holy Spirit took up the task of revealing to man God’s righteous standard necessary for life (Jn. 16:5-15).
God, today, has chosen not to use graphic, heart-stopping miraculous powers over nature, disease, demons and death to reveal the identity of His Son. Instead, He uses the power of His written Word, the Bible (Heb. 4:12; I Pet. 1:23) and the gentle, relentless, convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit to open blind eyes to the gospel.
The Holy Spirit is busy convincing those whom God has set apart that the Word of God is true, and that in order to have life they need righteousness before God. This righteousness will come to those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). All four gospels highlight the life of Jesus Christ by placing emphasis on His miracles.