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Jesus: His Miracles

John 10:37-38 


"If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; [38] but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father." 

Today, as we explore the miracles of Jesus, I am taking something for granted. I am assuming that there is general agreement among our congregation that Jesus was capable of and did perform miraculous works. By and large, we are a conservative bunch who take the inspiration of scripture seriously and believe that Jesus performed the miracles that the New Testament ascribes to Him. Since I believe it is safe to assume that we do not question the authenticity of His miracles, I want to concentrate on one question today: Why did Jesus do the miracles He did?

John uses a different word to reference miracles than the Synoptic writers used, he called them "signs." As you know, John did not write a chronological gospel, he wrote a theological gospel. In other words, he arranged the events of his book around a single purpose, which he spells out in John 20:31. "but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name." He wrote for one reason, so his contemporaries would accept that Jesus is the son of God and to believe that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah. When they came to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and the Messiah, then they would be ready to experience eternal life through His name.

Because of John's purpose, he selected 7 of Jesus' miracles that proved Jesus' divinity and messiahship. Knowing how John used them is one thing, knowing why Jesus performed them is another. Did Jesus perform miracles so that people would believe He was the Messiah?

Our text today seems to indicate that the answer could be yes. In John 10:37-38, Jesus said, "If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; [38] but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father." Certainly He is saying that actions speak louder than words. He said that His works show that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him.

But does that mean that his motives were to prove his divinity and Messiahship through the works, or is that just a byproduct of the miracles? Though we won't study all the miracles today, we will read enough of them to learn four reasons why Jesus did miracles.

ONE REASON WAS OUT OF NECESSITY. Remember when Mary and Jesus were at the wedding feast at Cana and the hosts ran out of wine? Mary asked Jesus to do something about it. Listen to His reply to her: "And Jesus said to her, 'Woman, what do I have to do with you? My hour has not yet come.' [5] His mother said to the servants, 'Whatever He says to you, do it.'" (John 2:4-5) Jesus evidenced some hesitation here, because He said His time hadn't come yet, but Mary had faith in Him to do something about the situation and told the servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do. The end result was that Jesus turned the dirty water from the purification pots into the best wine the crowd had ever tasted. Why did Jesus perform the miracle? It was out of necessity and because His mother asked Him to.

OTHER TIMES, JESUS USED HIS MIRACLES TO TEACH. Like the time he calmed the storm tossed sea. "And when He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. [24] And behold, there arose a great storm in the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves; but He Himself was asleep. [25] And they came to Him, and awoke Him, saying, 'Save us, Lord; we are perishing!' [26] And He said to them, 'Why are you timid, you men of little faith?' Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and it became perfectly calm. [27] And the men marveled, saying, 'What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?'" (Matthew 8:23-27 ) Certainly this miracle pointed to His divine powers, but it did more than that, it taught the disciples a lesson about faith.

OTHER TIMES, JESUS WASN'T TRYING TO EVOKE FAITH, BUT PERFORMED MIRACLES IN RESPONSE TO FAITH. A prime example is found in Matthew 9:1-8 that says, "And getting into a boat, He crossed over, and came to His own city. [2] And behold, they were bringing to Him a paralytic, lying on a bed; and Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, 'Take courage, My son, your sins are forgiven.' [3] And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, 'This fellow blasphemes.' [4] And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, 'Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? [5] For which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise, and walk'? [6] "But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins'-- then He said to the paralytic-- 'Rise, take up your bed, and go home.' [7] And he rose, and went home. [8] But when the multitudes saw this, they were filled with awe, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men."

Jesus saw the faith of the men that brought the paralytic to Him and forgave the man's sins. The religious leaders didn't like what they saw and began mumbling among themselves accusing Jesus of blaspheming because only God can forgive sins. They didn't like Jesus' inference-that He was God. But because Jesus is God, he knew what they were thinking and said, in essence, what is easier to say some words or to perform a miracle? Anyone can say the words, but not everyone can perform a miracle. The reason for this miracle was straightforward-in response to the people's faith and to demonstrate that Jesus had the authority to forgive sin. According to the scripture the man immediately took up his bed and walked.

STILL OTHER TIMES, JESUS PERFORMED A MIRACLE BECAUSE THE PERSON'S SITUATION TOUCHED HIS HEART AND HE HAD COMPASSION ON THEM. Matthew 14:14 says, "And when He went ashore, He saw a great multitude, and felt compassion for them, and healed their sick." The only miracle that appears in all four gospels is the feeding miracle. Mark 8:2-3 shows that it was Jesus' compassion for the people that led to the miracle. It says, "I feel compassion for the multitude because they have remained with Me now three days, and have nothing to eat; [3] and if I send them away hungry to their home, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come from a distance." 

REALLY, WE CAN'T FULLY UNDERSTAND WHY JESUS PERFORMED MIRACLES UNTIL WE EXAMINE A COUPLE OF TIMES THAT HE REFUSED TO DO THEM. When the devil tempted Him in the wilderness, Jesus refused to prove He was the Son of God by doing a miracle. Matthew 4:5-7 says, "Then the devil took Him into the holy city; and he had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, [6] and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God throw Yourself down; for it is written, 'He will give His angels charge concerning You'; and 'On their hands they will bear You up, Lest You strike Your foot against a stone.' " [7] Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.' " 

Jesus refused to prove anything to Satan, he certainly wasn't going to perform on cue. Another time he refused to perform a miracle was when the soldiers came to the garden to arrest Him. Peter took a sword and attacked the soldiers. Jesus healed the man's ear that Peter cut off then asked Peter a question. Let's read Matthew 26:52-53, "Then Jesus said to him, 'Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. [53] Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?'"

It is Jesus' restraint not his performance of miracles that give us the reason He did the miracles He did. In this text, he refused, because doing the miracle would have been counterproductive to his mission-to be the Savior of the world. Like it or not, Jesus had to fall into the hands of the soldiers and he had to die on the cross. Without the cross, there could be nor resurrection and without the resurrection there could be no eternal life.

Jesus didn't perform miracles so we would know He was God-He did them because He was God. He wasn't trying to prove anything-He was just being Himself. 

And today, you can experience the greatest miracle of them all. You can be transformed, by the blood of Jesus into a new creation, if you'll only accept His sacrifice for you. 

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