With this lesson, we shift our focus from the Lord’s teaching to his miracles. There are 104 accounts of Jesus performing 37 miracles in the four gospels. This represents only a fraction of the total (John 20:30-31; 21:25). Before we consider some of the miracles individually, let us consider some general information.
THE NATURE OF THE LORD’S MIRACLES
- There are four words in the New Testament that denote the miraculous work of Jesus. These words overlap in usage, but they also carry some nuance, too.
- Teras – translated “wonder” (Acts 2:22), refers to something outside the usual course of events.
- Dunamis – translated “mighty works” or “powers” (Luke 4:36), stresses the power that accomplishes the deed.
- Paradoxos – translated “strange thing” (Luke 5:26), stresses the contradictory nature of the act.
- Semeion – translated “sign” (John 20:30), refers to a miracle that points to an underlying spiritual truth.
- A miraculous act is the “divine, direct affecting of either mind or matter in a way that is obvious to men upon observation, reflection, or revelation” (Weylan Deaver, “Nature and Supernature”).
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE LORD’S MIRACLES
- The gospel writers relate 17 miracles that proved that Jesus had power over physical illness (Matt. 9:35; 15:30-31).
- The gospel writers relate 9 miracles over the forces of nature (Matt. 8:26-27; 14:25; John 2:1-11).
- The gospel writers relate 6 cures of demon possession (Mark 5:1-17; Luke 9:38-42)
- The gospel writers relate 3 resurrections from the dead (Matt. 9:18-26; Luke 7:11-16; John 11:10-46).
- Often overlooked are the accounts of Jesus performing miracles of insight or knowledge (John 2:24-25; 4:17-19; Luke 19:29-44; 22:7-13).
- The miracles of Jesus had many witnesses (John 2:1-11; Mark 2:1-12; Matt. 14:21).
- Jesus’ miracles were undeniable (Matt. 12:24; Mark 3:1-5; 9:43).
PURPOSES OF THE LORD’S MIRACLES
- To prove his identity (John 3:2; 7:31; 20:30-31)
- To prove his authority (Mark 2:10-11)
- To show compassion (Matt. 14:14)
- To produce faith (John 11:41-45)