Jesus miracles - Why did He perform miracles?
Why did Jesus perform miracles? Jesus' miracles were not random acts, but they carried a specific message to the nation of Israel, the Jews. In the New Testament the word "miracle" and the word "sign" both come from the same Greek word: "semeion" (say-mi-on). The meaning of the word is an explanation of something hidden and secret. It denotes a sign, mark, an indication, token, or wonder and can be a warning, admonition, or instruction of truth.
The key to Jesus' miracles is the meaning of this word. Why? "Jews demand miraculous signs. . ." (1 Corinthians 1:22). "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). This sign to the nation of Israel of the coming of the Messiah was to be the birth of a Son born of a virgin. "This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger" (Luke 2:12).
In Isaiah chapter 42 in the first of the "Servant Songs," which are a prophesy of the Messiah, we find this verse, "To open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness" (Isaiah 42:7). Here we have the Messiah the Servant who comes to help those who cannot help themselves and this verse is fully fulfilled in Jesus' miracles.
There are 37 of Jesus' miracles recorded in the gospels. There are 21 of Jesus' miracles recorded in Matthew, three of which only appear in Matthew. There are 19 of Jesus' miracles recorded in Mark, two of which only appear in Mark. There are 22 of Jesus' miracles recorded in Luke, seven of which only appear in Luke. And there are 8 of Jesus' miracles recorded in John, six of which only appear in John. To go through all 37 of these miracles and expound on them would require a very large thesis. Therefore, we will look only at a few that demonstrate the principle of the Servant Messiah giving Israel the message that Jesus was indeed their Messiah.
The first is found only in John 9:1-34. It is the story of the man born blind. And it is a clear fulfillment of Isaiah 42:7. This man born blind had never seen the light until the "light of the world" (John 9:5) opened His eyes.
Second, we find the stilling of the storm in Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41, and Luke 8:22-25. Here Jesus displays His power over His creation (Ephesians 3:9).
Third, Jesus' raising of Lazarus from the grave is recorded only in John 11:1-44. Here Jesus displays His power over death. The fact that Jesus called Lazarus by name is significant. If Jesus had proclaimed, "Come forth" without that specification, His power would have opened all of the graves.
The healing of those with leprosy is a special sign and it proclaims the proof of Christ's power to banish the consequences of sin. Leprosy itself is a picture of sin. We find one such healing in Matthew 8:4 (also see: Mark 1:40-45 and Luke 5:12-14). This specific healing is very interesting. "Then Jesus said to him, 'See that you don't tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them'" (Matthew 8:4). The Law had very strict requirements for the verification of the healing of a leper and the leprous house. Those instructions can be found in Leviticus chapter 13 to 14:57. This passage gives instructions to the priests on how to diagnose leprosy and what to do if someone who had leprosy presented themselves as healed. It is a fact that after the law was given no Jew had ever been healed of leprosy. Only Naaman, the Syrian, a Gentile was healed by washing seven times in the Jordan (2 Kings 5:8-14). This fact gave rise to the belief that only the Messiah would be able to heal leprosy and this is indeed what we see in the gospels. In addition to the account of Jesus' healing of one leper at the beginning of His ministry there is the record of His healing of 10 lepers in Luke 17:11-19, which is very near the end of His time on earth.
Therefore, Jesus' miracles were a sign to the nation of Israel that He was their promised and long awaited Messiah. However, in spite of all of the miracles and signs that Jesus gave to the nation of Israel and the religious rulers, they rejected their Messiah. They continued to reject the message given to them by Jesus' disciples and the result occurred in A.D. 70 when the nation was once again taken out of the land and the temple was destroyed just as Jesus had prophesied (Matthew 24:2).
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