THE GOSPELS 77
MIRACLES AND THEIR PURPOSE
In our study of the Gospels, we have now come to the account of a series of miracles performed by Jesus. Because of the spectacular aspect of miracles, many have claimed the power to perform them in order to get attention, authenticate their authority, or increase their power in religious circles. For this reason, I want to make a careful study of what the New Testament teaches about the purpose of miracles, and who can really claim the power to perform them.
Some of the things we are going to say were included in former essays, but I think they are important enough to bear repeating. One of the first instances of Jesus’ reference to His miracles was when messengers came from John the Baptist to ask Him if He was the Messiah, or were they to look for another. Jesus told them to go back and tell John what they saw. What they saw were blind men seeing, lepers cleansed, and even the dead raised to life again. In other words, Jesus was saying that these things proved that He was from Heaven and had the power of life. He was the One to bless the world, and in Him and Him alone was the power over life. The miracles authenticated the King as He came to preach the Kingdom of Heaven, now open to men of earth.
At the end of his letter, John says, “Many other miraculous signs did Jesus in the presence of His disciples…but these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God”. In these two instances we have the purpose of miracles stated clearly. They were always, and only, performed to prove that Jesus Christ was the Son of God…the Messiah…the King of Kings and the Savior of the world.
Please realize that a miracle has to have the source of life at its base. Only one who can give life can raise the dead or alter the forces of nature that affect life. This means that only God can author a miracle, and those who perform them do so only to prove the reality of God and His purposes. Jesus Christ, as the only begotten Son of God, was God on earth. “All things were made by Him,
and without Him nothing was made that was made”, (John 1:3). So He performed miracles to prove His identity, so men would know that His words were the message of Heaven itself.
When the “twelve” were sent out, they were told to preach that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand. The miracles they performed were to prove that the King had sent them, and that the Jesus that they preached was the King. No
miracle was ever performed for any other purpose.
The ultimate miracle was the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. He was not raised by an agent, but because He had life within Himself. God gave His Son the power of life, and it was that inherent power of life that brought Him forth from the grave. Today, the miracle we have to prove the message of God’s invitation is the Cross. Anyone who claims to perform miracles in order to prove his authority or power disparages the Cross and makes a claim not supported by the Word of God in the Bible.
Jesus did perform miracles to relieve human suffering, but that was never the purpose of the miracle. That He could do so, proved who He was, and that was the thing which fulfilled the real need of suffering mankind. In one instance He said to the crippled man, “Your sins be forgiven”. The Pharisees criticized this,
but that was the central reason for all Jesus did, as He told them. His concern for man’s physical woes was secondary to His concern for their soul. We may not have the power to raise the dead, but with the Cross, we can give hope for the soul, which is more precious and lasting than any bodily cure.