The Miracles of Christ

The Miracles of Christ

When Jesus Christ was on earth, one thing that marked Him out from everybody else was that He performed miracles. A miracle is something over and above the usual course of nature. By definition, miracles don’t ordinarily happen. Ordinarily, God uses means. We must have natural laws, otherwise we couldn’t plan anything. But God is God. He’s free to work above and beyond them if He so wishes. And He does, in miracles.


1. Christ’s Miracles were Real Miracles

First, we must ascertain that Christ’s miracles were real. We shouldn’t have to do this, but today university theology departments are full of atheists. They teach the miracles weren’t real, the resurrection didn’t happen, Mary was a “young woman” not a virgin, The plagues of the Exodus were the result of a volcanic eruption, the Bible account of Creation is a myth, and the Bible itself isn’t the word of God, but a jigsaw of man-made writings.

We can’t argue with these people. Our ultimate authority is the Bible, which is God’s revelation to man. But they don’t believe that. They believe what they want to believe. So it’s impossible to pin them down, or to discuss anything with them. Christ said:

Matthew 15:14
Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

It’s simple to show Christ’s miracles were real. The people of His day believed they were:

John 6:2  
And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.

Christ’s greatest enemies murmured about Him, but they couldn’t deny the miracles:

John 9:16  
Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. 

They didn’t call him a charlatan or a fake healer. They dismissed Him for other reasons, namely, they thought Him to be a sinner and a Sabbath-breaker. Later on, they held a council, where none of them denied the miracles were real:

John 11:47-48  
Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

They were more concerned the Romans would take away their place and nation. Why not just call Him a fake? Because they couldn’t. They knew His miracles were real. So that’s the first point. Christ’s miracles were real, despite what your theology professor tells you.


2. We Can’t do Miracles like Christ Today

 We have plenty of atheists to deal with. But we also have the opposite extreme - faith healers. We see them on our so-called “Christian” TV channels every day. And if we believe them, they’ll take all our money. 

Faith-healing isn’t unique to Christianity. There are faith-healers in every religion. Animists, Buddhists and even Islam has them. And they’re popular, because vulnerable people who are sick, who have tried everything else without success, will try anything. So they easily fall prey to a smooth-talking faith-healer. 

Christ could perform miracles. God can perform miracles today. But we can’t. We need to show that from the Bible. 

We read of two occasions during Christ’s ministry when He gave the power to perform miracles to some of His disciples for certain campaigns. In Matthew 10, the twelve disciples were sent out, only preaching to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And in Luke 10, seventy were sent out as a vanguard, into every place He himself would go later.

He also gave His apostles this power for a time after His ascension. That’s it. They’re the only occasions when Christ gave power to others to do miracles. The Bible calls these miracles “signs and wonders.” We’re told specifically they were the signs of an apostle:

2 Corinthians 12:12
Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.

 What were these “signs and wonders”? The best list we have is in Matthew 10. There, this power was given to the twelve, and notice, that would have included Judas Iscariot:

Matthew 10:1,8  
And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.... Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Now, compare that list with the list of “spiritual gifts” mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12. They’re not the same. God gives “spiritual gifts” as He sees fit. But they are only given to His born-again people. So Judas could never have had any of them:

1 Corinthians 12:8-10
For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues....

Nowhere in this list of “spiritual gifts” are “heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils.” They were the “signs” Christ and the apostles performed, and nothing to do with “spiritual gifts.” The two are completely different. 

But what about “the working of miracles” and “gifts of healing? Whatever these are, they are not the same as the “signs and wonders.” In 1 Corinthians 12, the Greek word for “miracles” is “ dunamis,” which is more usually translated “power.” In the gospels, the word used is “sayimon,” which means “sign.” Occasionally the words “miracles” and “signs” occur together, in which case the word “dunamis” will be used, meaning literally “power and signs.” As for “gifts of healing,” some people have a gift of being able to speak healing words to people in need. This could simply mean the gift of being a peacemaker.

So, if aunt Bessie is sick, we can’t go up to her and say, “Be healed in the name of Jesus!” But what we can do is pray. There is a God in heaven who can heal. He is the one we go to. He may heal, or He may not. It may be her time to die. But we still go to Him and accept whatever He has for her. We don’t try to pretend we can heal her ourselves.


3. What was the Purpose of the Miracles?

Christ didn’t do any miracles for the first thirty years of His life. He only started them after He began His public ministry. In John 2, we’re told His turning water into wine was the “beginning of miracles.” Why did He only start then? He could’ve healed so many more.

The miracles were not an end in themselves. Physical healing is not an end in itself. Unless Christ comes again in our lifetime, we’re all still going to die. Christ raised Lazarus from the dead, but he died again later. We must all face death, because we’re sinners:

Romans 6:23
The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Hebrews 9:27  
It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment....

The miracles were good things, they healed people from crippling illnesses, fed people in the wilderness, and so on. Christ went about doing good. The only ones who complained were the religious leaders, who wanted Him out of the way so they could be in charge.

Acts 10:38
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

But Christ didn’t just come to do a few miracles then go away again. The miracles pointed to something far greater, namely the fact that He was the Christ, the prophesied Messiah.

It had always been prophesied that God would send a Saviour to save His people. Many thought that just meant a physical salvation for Israel from their enemies. But God meant it to be far more than that. We’re all sinful, selfish creatures by nature. From all eternity, God planned to save a number that no man can number from the consequences of that sin. To do that, He had to send His Son to die on a cross, in their place, as a substitute, to take the punishment for their sin. If we don’t have Jesus Christ dying in our place as our substitute, there will be no hope for us in eternity, we’ll have to be punished for our own sin for ever and ever. That’s why knowing Jesus Christ, repenting of our sins and calling on Him to save us, is the most important thing in the world. Without Him there is no hope.

But how are we to know who this Messiah is, when He comes to earth? Many people throughout history have claimed to be some sort of Saviour, and many will in the future:

Matthew 24:4-5  
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.... 

But Christ did miracles. This was the proof He was from God. It’s true, we’re told that in the end times false christs will come with “great signs and wonders:”

Matthew 24:23-24
Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

But will these be real miracles, like Christ performed? I’m not so sure. They’ll be very, very clever deceptions. So clever that even some of the elect will be taken in for a time.

Nicodemus saw Christ’s miracles and realised they meant that He came from God:

John 3:2  
The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

Many others in Christ’s day saw the miracles and also realised He was the Christ:

John 7:31  
And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?

Christ’s miracles were only ever meant to be signs, pointing to something greater, namely His having come from God. His teachings were far more important than His miracles. 

Matthew 17:5  
This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.


4. Why Different Ways of Performing the Miracles?

Sometimes Christ performed the same miracle in different ways. For example, in the Scriptures we have details of three blind men being healed:

With blind Bartimeus in Luke 18, Christ just said the word and he was healed:

Luke 18:40-43  
And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him, Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.

That’s it. An instant healing. As Christ is from God, that’s what we ought to expect every time. But with the man born blind in John 9, it was a more complicated procedure:

John 9:6-7  
When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

And with the man in Bethsaida in Mark 8, Christ performed the miracle in two stages:

Mark 8:22-25  
And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.

Was this because it didn’t work the first time? Of course not. Christ never made mistakes. There must have been a purpose behind Christ using different methods to do the same thing. He didn’t do things differently just because He felt like it. Each must be teaching us something about our spiritual blindness. Only Christ can give spiritual light.

Ephesians 5:14  
Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

With Bartimaeus it was instantaneous. Suddenly he could see. We’re all born spiritually blind. When Christ comes into our lives, we suddenly see what we couldn’t see before. The Bible comes alive. God become a reality. We suddenly understand the truth.

With the man in John 9, after being anointed with clay, he still couldn’t see anything until he did what Christ told him to do. This teaches obedience. Christ changes us for ever, but our duty then is to be obedient to Him. We don’t “get saved” just to carry on our old life as before. We’re now finished with self. Obedience to Christ should now characterise us. 

And the man in Bethsaida was healed in two parts to shew us that when we become a Christian, suddenly we have spiritual light, and it’s wonderful. But we don’t see spiritual things clearly straight away. We just see men as trees walking. We see the things of God as through a glass darkly. Only when we continue to look up to Christ, does everything become clearer. And they’ll only become fully clear when we get to heaven.

So the three different methods are teaching us different things about spiritual life.

With both the man born blind and the man in Bethsaida, Christ used His spit. Isn’t that strange? What gives us spiritual light? The Word of God, the words of Christ, from His mouth. That’s the picture. If we want spiritual light, we must come to Jesus Christ.

Psalm 19:7  
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. 

Hebrews 4:12  
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

So, that’s what the miracles of Christ are all about. But there’s one last thing.


5. The Miracle of Providence

Miracles had hardly ever happened before Christ came. The man born blind in John 9 said:

John 9:32.  
Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.

We only find miracles occasionally in the Bible, particularly in the Exodus and in the time of Elijah and Elisha. Other than that, such signs are very few and far between. 

But there is a miracle God continually performs every day. The miracle of Providence. Unlike the others, this miracle doesn’t bypass the natural laws God has set up. And the wonderful thing about it is that it means that nothing happens by chance. Nothing happens for no reason. In everything, God is working all things out to His own glory.

From the largest things:

Psalm 148:8
Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word....

To the smallest:

Matthew 10:29-30  
Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

And He particularly works everything out for the good of His people:

Romans 8:28  
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Incredibly, even the wicked acts of men are worked out for our good and His glory:

Genesis 50:20  
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

Acts 2:23-24  
Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

So, if God allows some terrible evil to happen, He is never the author of it, but we can be assured that He will always work through it to His own glory in the end. Otherwise He would never have allowed it to come to pass in the first place. 

And, above all, God defeats our greatest enemy. Pride. This is the greatest miracle of all.

Daniel 4:37  
Those that walk in pride he is able to abase.  

Only the Lord Jesus Christ can humble the soul, if we simply put our trust in Him.

Matthew 11:29  
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Jesus Christ is worthy of all our worship. We can trust in Him completely. This is the confidence we can have, knowing that God is in control of everything. Nothing is outside of His control. This is the real Christian life, living our lives trusting that all things, both pleasant and unpleasant, work together for good, even when they don’t seem to.

Habakkuk 3:17-18.  
Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.