Miracels in John

In the Beginning

The four evangelists describe 36 miracles performed by Jesus. Only one, the feeding of the five thousand, is mentioned by all four. John relates the events associated with seven miracles1 before the crucifixion and one after. Six of these eight are only found in his gospel. (Matthew and Mark as well as John report that Jesus walked on the Sea of Galilee.)

This issue of The Herald takes a close look at the seven miracles preceding the crucifixion. John is the only evangelist who draws attention to the first miracle by saying specifically that it was the first (turning water into wine). He continues that practice by noting that the healing of the nobleman’s son of a fever was the second. A unique characteristic of that miracle was that Jesus was in one location while the person healed was in another. Then John stops numbering them, although some useful insights can be seen when comparing all eight with each other.

The third miracle was the healing of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda. The fourth was the feeding the 5,000 and the fifth was the walking on the sea. The sixth miracle was the healing the man born blind; the seventh and most dramatic was the raising of Lazarus. Each of these seven miracles is examined in depth in this issue. (The eighth miracle, a great catch of fish described in John 21:6, occurred after the crucifixion and is not included.)

We conclude with a verse-by-verse examination of John 3 where Jesus spoke privately with Nicodemus about spirit begettal. Here was a Pharisee who had seen miracles and realized what they implied. His first words were, “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.” Other Pharisees saw what he saw but drew no such conclusion.

As we consider the miracles of Jesus, let us realize that here was “a teacher come from God.” Let each of us pattern our life after his, knowing that if we are faithful, the prophecy of Jesus will come true in us: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father” (John 14:12).

1. See Appendix 176 in the Companion Bible for an interesting analysis of the relationship of each of these miracles to the others.