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Miracles

The word "miracle" can be used to describe any extraordinary event that is beyond all known human or natural powers.

Miracles

It's not uncommon to consider "life" to be a miracle – and the life of Jesus, considering his Virgin Birth and Resurrection, is a rather spectacular miracle. So on this page we list some of the countless miracles performed by Jesus.

Since early history, we humans have developed an elaborate philosophical mixture of the rational and the irrational, including superstition, which has helped us to 'rationalise' the unknown. For example, before medicine could put a finger on neurological conditions such as epilepsy, sufferers were assumed to be possessed by evil spirits and the best cure was an exorcism.

Jesus was not the first person to perform miracles – they had been credited to various deities before – so people (some people) were ready to believe that Jesus had supernatural powers.

Today we have the advantage of the Scientific Revolution, which has led to discoveries that encourages scepticism about supernatural events. Many Christians and Muslims. still believe that the miracles recorded in the Bible were actual historical events, whilst others are sceptical and consider the stories to be metaphorical.

There is no suggestion that the sceptics have less faith in the omnipotence of God. Moreover, the sceptical religious may continue with rites where they believe that inward grace is received due to physical ceremony (ex opere operato), which atheists would describe as superstitious.

Whether atheist or not, it is impossible to explain miracles which, by definition, are beyond our understanding. Having said that, whatever overlapping or blurred explanations we may choose, there is no doubt about the importance of these events.

Interpretations

Risking the inevitable complaints of being insensitive and politically incorrect, we can make spiritual comparisons with physical conditions:

  • healing the blind – giving spiritual insight
  • healing lepers and other untouchables – making spiritually clean
  • healing paralytics and disabled – going out to evangelize
  • healing internal illnesses – ridding evil

and so on.

Jesus performed supernatural deeds, not to prove his omnipotence and authority, but to teach important lessons for life, then and now. Today's approach we might have on the factual substance of those miracles may have changed, but the specific lessons have not (John 10:37-38).

For example, when Jesus walked on water and when he calmed the storm, his disciples were taught about the importance of faith, without which we will sink (Matt 14:34-36, Mark 4:35-41).

Here then are some of those miracles, the first seven of which are recorded by John as miraculous signs of Jesus' Divinity.

Miracles that controlled nature

  • Turning water into wine at a wedding feast in Cana, which was the first recorded miracle by Jesus. It substantiated his Divinity, was a cornerstone of the gospel, and set God's seal on the sanctity of marriage. (John 2:1-11)
  • Walking on water (John 6:16-24)
  • The miraculous catch of fish from the deep waters of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1-11)
  • The miraculous catch of fish from the right hand side of the boat (John 21:1-14)
  • The coin in the mouth of a fish (Matt 17:24-27)
  • The calming of the storm Mark 4:35-41)
  • Cursing the fig tree (Matt 21:18-22, Mark 11:12-14, 20-25)

Miracles that affected people directly

Healing those with sensory impairment

  • Man who was blind in Bethsaida (Mark 8:22-26)
  • Man (Bartimaeus) who was blind near Jericho (Mark 10:46-52)
  • Two men with blindness near Jericho (Matt 20:29-34, Luke 18:35-43)
  • Two more men with blindness in Galilee (Matt 9:27-31)
  • The man who was mute (Matt 9:32-34)
  • The man of Decapolis who was deaf and mute and who, in Jewish law, could not be a 'moral agent'; that is, his disability meant that he was considered incapable of making moral judgments. Jesus fixed that. (Mark 7:31-37)
  • The man who was blind, deaf and mute (Matt 12:22-32, Mark 3:20-30, Luke 11:14-23)

Healing those with leprosy. 

  • The person with leprosy who disobeyed instructions not to reveal that Jesus had healed him, forcing Jesus to withdraw from the resulting crowds that sought healing (Matt 8:1-4, Mark 1:40-45, Luke 5:12-16)
  • Ten people with leprosy, while on his way to Jerusalem (Luke 17:11-19)
  • The man with edema at the house of a prominent Pharisee (Luke 14:1-6)

Healing those with physical disabilities

  • The man who had to be lowered through a hole in the roof because the crowds has blocked the doorway (Matt 9:1-8, Mark 2:1-8, Luke 5:17-26)
  • The man by the pool at Bethesda, whom Jesus told to take up his bed and walk (John 5:1-18)
  • The man with the withered hand, whom Jesus told to stretch out (Matt 12:9-13)
  • The woman unable to walk, healed on the Sabbath (Luke 13:10-17)
  • The Centurion's servant in Capernaum (Matt 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-10)

Healing those with internal illnesses

  • The woman with chronic bleeding who touched the cloak of Jesus (Matt 9:18-26, Mark 5:18-26, Luke 8:40-56)

Healing those with unspecified illnesses

Resurrection of the dead

The same Greek word was used for any serious skin disorders and diseases, including leprosy, smallpox, elephantiasis, gangrene, burns, etc., none of which other people would want to be in close contact with and the sufferers would typically be exiled.

Yes, many Muslims believe that Jesus performed miracles (see Similarities between Christianity and Islam) and why shouldn't they? Miracles of Jesus are written in the Quran (suras 3:49 and 5:110).

Matt 12:38-40, 16:1-4, Mark 8:11-12, Luke 11:29-30

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