Saturday, December 01, 2018

Why These Miracles?

(This column originally appeared in the Town Talk on Sunday, December 2, 2018.)
If I were to ask you how many miracles Jesus performed what would your answer be? If you ask Google, over 68 million results would suggest that Jesus performed 37 miracles, recorded in the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), with Mark’s Gospel recording the most.

But what if I were to tell you that Jesus did many, many more miracles than this, would you believe me? I can prove it to you. Listen to the words of the beloved apostle John as he concludes his Gospel with these final words: “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:25 NASB)

It may seem a little surprising that the Bible records only 37 of these innumerable miracles. And even more surprising is that the Apostle John only records seven, prior to the crucifixion! Out of all the miracles that John personally saw Jesus do, how did he come to pick these specific seven?

John seems to have anticipated that question as well because in the second-to-last chapter of his Gospel we find these words: “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30-31 NASB)

What’s interesting is that when you walk through each of the miracles of Jesus that John recorded you find that very common theme – it always resulted in someone believing in Jesus!

For example, after Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding in Cana John records these words: “This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.” (John 2:11 NASB)

I could walk you through all seven miracles and with each one you would see that the miracle resulted in someone believing in Jesus. Here’s a good way to summarize it with John’s report of what happened in Jerusalem: “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing.” (John 2:23 NASB)

Hopefully you’re seeing the point very well. Jesus didn’t just do miracles to wow the crowds or drum up a big following. Every miracle had the sole purpose of bringing someone to faith in Him. And so John picked seven specific miracles to help the reader “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.”

But the sentence doesn’t end there. John went on to say, “…and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31b NASB)

My question to you is have you received the life that He offers? There are many who might say they “believe” in Jesus, but they don’t have a life that demonstrates that. It’s not enough to believe in God for according to James even “the demons also believe, and shudder.” (James 2:19b NASB) At least the demons have the sense to tremble before God!

My prayer for you is that you will receive the life that Jesus offers, and that His life will transform your life! Then you’ll find that life bubbling out onto others, giving them hope as well!

John opens his Gospel by saying that everyone who received Jesus was given the right to become children of God! (See John 1:12.) So why did he include the seven specific miracles that he chose? Because he wanted to give you something to believe in, a hope to sustain you, and a life worth living! Why these miracles? That you might believe! And that believing you might have life! Do you believe?
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