Jesus Christís Miracles
A little more than 1,900 years ago, the best and kindest person who ever walked this earth in human form spent three years intensively doing nothing but good. On many occasions He displayed the power of God to work miracles. In an age when superstition was strong, and most people expected a display of miracles to convince them of great power, there would naturally be a great temptation to impress the multitude by a show of supernatural power.
The Jews were constantly demanding that Jesus Christ should work some miracle as a "sign" that He was more than just a man. All four Gospels record this: Matthew 12:38‑40; Mark 18:11‑12; Luke 11:16, 29‑32; and John 6:30. But He always refused to do this: He had not come as a mountebank, to amuse people of that character with a spectacular show. Just as He refused to perform miracles for Satan, as is recorded in the 4th chapter of Matthew, He also refused to perform them at the demand of the Jews.
First of all, He did only those miracles which the prophets of the Old Testament had prophesied the Messiah would do. This was for a definite purpose: those who knew and believed the Old Testament (which was all of the Bible which was in existence at that time) would by this recognize Him as the Messiah, the Christ.
When John the Baptist sent some of his disciples to inquire if Jesus was the Christ, as we read in Luke 7:19‑22, Jesus reminded them of the miracles which 'He had performed; these being the very miracles which Isaiah had prophesied; this would be proof enough for John. But those who could not or would not see this, also could not understand His true character when He told them that He was the Christ, as He told the Jews in John 10:24‑25.
What was the nature of these miracles? They were all connected with the great Gospel He preached: that of the Kingdom of God, to be established on this Earth. In the Kingdom of God, the defects of the present age will not exist; and Jesus had come to set men free from the crushing burdens we carry in this evil age.
The great majority of His miracles were the healing of the sick, the deformed the paralyzed and the blind, and He also freed them from possession by demons. The Jews well knew that leprosy was incurable, as far as all human skill of that day could do; yet on several occasions Jesus Christ healed it with only a spoken word.
Those who otherwise were condemned to the living death of a disease under which their flesh rotted away while yet they lived, and because of this they were outcasts from all human society‑these people He restored to full health and useful, happy life. Twice He restored strength and activity to those who for years had lain hopelessly paralyzed.
One woman who had for 18 years of misery been deformed as a hunchback, He restored to perfect form with but the touch of His hand. Many who lived in the hopeless despair of blindness He blessed with renewed vision, giving them not only the beauty of the world about them but also the usefulness which enabled them to earn their living, instead of being dependent upon charity. Those who lay in pain and weakness upon their beds, too sick to rise, more of these than could be counted He healed with only a spoken word. Many who were dumb came to Him for help, and to them He gave the power to speak.
God did not intend that we should be tormented by sicknesses, which also shorten our lives. He meant for us to live under the glorious conditions of His kingdom, free from crime and sin, free from sickness and death. But instead of this, men chose to live under the rule of Satan, despite the terrible price we have paid for this all during the course of human history. It was to set us free from this that Jesus Christ came: as He said in John 10:10, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." Therefore, these miracles of healing were a demonstration to us of the perfection of His kingdom, as well as the proof of His identity.
Again, He fed multitudes; 4,000 at one time, and 5,000 at another, out in the desert where no food was to be found: for this purpose, He made a few fishes and loaves of bread sufficient to feed thousands, and even the scraps left over were more than the food they had in the beginning. But note that He did this, not for the benefit of the merely lazy: He did it for whose who had followed Him to listen to His teachings, and who would not leave Him even to go back to the towns where they could eat. Only when there was a hunger of the soul for His truth did He also feed their bodies.
He calmed the storm at sea, to save the lives of His disciples who were threatened by it. He cast out devils from those whose lives had been ruined by them. Here was the power of God plainly displayed: and yet the unbelieving Jews only scoffed, and said that He could only cast out devils by the help of Beelzebub, the prince of devils. But the Jews well knew that, by the laws of God in the Old Testament to which they gave insincere lip‑service, their High Priests should have been able to cast out devils; yet they could not; so Jesus reminded them, "If I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore, they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God is come unto you." Matthew 12:22‑29
Finally, as the greatest miracle of all, He several times restored the dead to life. Surely here was the power of God beyond any possibility of doubt; but also, here was the demonstration of the goodness of God, who does not want us to suffer death, and has set us free from it through Jesus Christ. In the Kingdom of God, the reign of death is ended.
In all of these we see His consistent policy. When Satan asked Him, to turn stones Into bread, and to show that He could safely jump from the topmost pinnacle of the Temple, as demonstrations of His supreme power over nature, He refused; yet He produced food in plenty to feed those who believed in Him; and He calmed the storm to save the lives of His disciples. In a world where God's economic laws were mocked, at the cost of ever‑widening poverty among the people; where the moral laws of God were mocked, at the cost of general depravity; where the sick became more numerous with each generation, and they had lost the power to restore to sanity the wretched ones who raved and fought; in that world, with only a word or the gentlest touch of His hand, He stopped pain and sorrow, restored the sick to strength and usefulness, and reminded them that only God is the source of all good.
As He said in John 5:12, "Verily, verily I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." These miracles were not to display His power for the admiration of the fickle mob: they were to show the power of God, and what it would be like in the Kingdom of God, for which the faithful few waited.
How glaring was the contrast between the world as He found it and the Kingdom of God which He taught them! But let us not forget that our world of today is† little better than that which rejected Him nineteen centuries ago.
We also have our sick, our cripples, our paralyzed, many of whom we know not how to heal; we also have our poor, but we have not learned how to feed them except at the cost of excessive taxes which again create the very evil they were supposed to remedy; we also have our storms and natural calamities bringing death and destruction, but we are powerless before them; and we also face the bitter sorrow of families separated by death.
All our vaunted civilization, our education, our science, has not relieved us of these evils. How long will it take us to see that man's materialism, however good his intentions, can never furnish the answer to our needs? It is just as true today as it was then, that in Jesus Christ alone is the answer: His power, His mercy, His goodness and generosity afford the only possible way for us to secure the good things which can come only in the Kingdom of God.