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Signs and Miracles Essay

The Gospel of John is to most people the most profound of all Gospels. Although it is profound it is also simple in its style and understanding. Dr. Towns at the very beginning of his book states, “The Gospel of John seems to be the simplest of all books in the bible to understand. That is why most new Christians are told to begin studying the bible by reading the book of John.”[1] Within the book of John there are eight sign miracles that were performed by Jesus. These miracles all reflect Jesus’ power and reflect who He was. In understanding these signs or miracles it is hard to argue that Jesus was not deity.

“It is not without its importance that sometimes John records that people believed simply on the basis of the signs.”[2] Although people believed because of the signs, the signs are not the most important thing. My local Pastor, Glenn Kennedy, once said, “The issue is not the sign but what the sign points to.” In reading through John it becomes clear that all the signs and miracles performed point directly to Christ’s deity. “Miracles in the Gospel of John are referred to as “signs”, pointers to the identity of Christ as the one sent by the Father.”[3] It is also an interesting note that just as there are eight “I am” statements, there are also eight signs.

The first of the eight signs is the turning of water into wine (2:1-12). This showed that Jesus had power over creation. Jesus created wine from only water, just as God created the earth from nothing. Jesus showed that he had the same power as His Father over creation. It is interesting that Jesus chose this for His first miracle. The first thing that God did was create the heavens and earth. The first miracle or sign that Jesus performed demonstrated He also has that same power.

The second sign performed was the healing of the nobleman’s son (4:46-54). This miracle showed many powers of Jesus, but most important was the power over space. Jesus healed the son without even being near the nobleman’s son. The nobleman came to Jesus begging for Him to come and heal his son. John 4:50 says, “Jesus replied, “You may go, your son will live.”[4] The nobleman believed Jesus and left. When he was on his way he was met and told his son lived. He learned that his son recovered at the exact time that Jesus had told him his son would live. Just as God is omnipresent, Jesus showed that he could heal the son even though he was physically in a different location.

The third sign was the healing of a lame man at the pool (5:1-9). As John 5:5 says the man had been an invalid for thirty eight years. Despite the man’s long history of suffering Jesus healed him instantly. The healing took place on the Sabbath. This miracle demonstrated Jesus’ power over time. Jesus was not bound to time constraints regardless how long or on which day. The man had prayed for some time to be healed but nothing ever happened. Jesus showed that He could heal instantly. Jesus also showed that God created the days and that He had power over them.

The fourth sign demonstrated Jesus’ power over food. Jesus fed the 5,000 (6:1-14). Jesus took five small barley loaves and two small fish and fed the 5,000 people. Not only was Jesus able to feed all of the people that had gathered, the disciples also gathered many leftovers. This showed that Jesus had the same power as when God fed the Israelites the manna. This is also a demonstration of Matthew 4:4, Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”[5] When Jesus was tempted by the devil, He showed that he had power over food and would not falter due to hunger. The fifth sign was when Jesus walks on the water (6:15-21). This demonstrated Jesus’ power over the natural laws.

This showed that just as God is not bound by the natural laws of the earth neither is Jesus. Jesus defied gravity and every other natural law and showed that He is not bound by, but actually has power over nature. God has shown us on many occasions that He has power over nature, such as the 40 days of rain and the great flood. This is once again a explanation that reveals Christ’s deity. Not only does Jesus have power over natural laws He also has power over physical laws. The sixth sign was the healing of a blind man (9:1-12). The man had been blind since birth and it was physically impossible for him to see. Jesus didn’t just help the man to see better, He gave sight when there wasn’t any before. Jesus showed us that He is the master of the impossible.

He is not bound to any law and He has power over sickness, blindness, infirmities, etc. Luke 1:37 tells us, “For nothing is impossible with God.”[6] The seventh sign was when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (11:1-44). This showed that not only does Jesus have power of natural and physical laws, but He also has power over death. Jesus could have healed Lazarus before he died. It is interesting that Jesus allowed him to die and then went to where he was at. Jesus could have healed him from a distance just as He did with the nobleman’s son. In allowing Lazarus to die and then waiting until he had been buried four days, Jesus showed that absolutely anything was possible with God. Jesus wanted to show everyone there that He was sent by God.

John 11:40 says, “Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God.”[7] The eighth miracle or sign that was performed by Jesus was the miraculous catch of fish (21:1-11). This sign demonstrated Jesus’ power of all of the previous that he had demonstrated in earlier signs. The Disciples were experienced fishermen and had been fishing all night and had not caught any fish at all. Jesus told them to cast their net over the right side of the boat and then they would catch some fish. When the Disciples obeyed they caught so many fish they could not drag the net in. This was the final sign that Jesus demonstrated to once again show that He was deity and that He was the Christ. This sign showed the disciples that Jesus still had power over everything and was not bound by anything.

In conclusion, it is apparent through the signs and miracles performed by Jesus that He is deity and has absolute power. There were many other signs and miracles performed during Jesus’ ministry but were not recorded in the Gospel of John. “This entire gospel records the events of only twenty days in a period of over three years.”[8] John chose these particular sign miracles to point to Christ and to show the world that He is the Savior. “While the proof of Christ’s Deity while he walked upon the earth is not conclusive, these eight sign miracles reveal the powers of the LORD God that He chose to express through Jesus Christ as he walked the earth with the nature of man.”[9] My prayer is that today’s reader can get a greater understanding through reading John and will believe in and turn to Christ as their Savior.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

“Gospel of John.” Theopedia, an Encyclopedia of Biblical Christianity June 2009. http://www.theopedia.com/Gospel_of_John. (30 July 2010)

Harbin, Michael A., The Promise And The Blessing; A Historical Survey Of The Old And New Testaments, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: The Zondervan Corporation, 2005)

Holman Bible Publishers, The Apologetics Study Bible, (Nashville, Tennessee: Holman Bible Publishers, 2007)

McFarland, Kathy L. “The Powers of the LORD God Expressed Through Jesus Christ in the Book of John.” Becker Bible Studies Christology Sept 2008. http://www.guidedbiblestudies.com/theology/Christology_Signs.html. (30 July 2010)

Morris, Leon, Jesus is the Christ, Studies in the Theology of John, (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989)

Towns, Elmer, A Journey Through the New Testament, (Mason, Ohio: Thomson Custom Publishing,2004)

Towns, Elmer, The Gospel of John, Believe and Live, (Chattanooga, Tennessee: AMG Publishers, Scofield Ministries,2002)

The Zondervan Corporation, NIV Archaeological Study Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: The Zondervan Corporation, 2005)

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[1] Towns, Elmer, The Gospel of John, Believe and Live, (Chattanooga, Tennessee: AMG Publishers, Scofield Ministries,2002), xi

[2] Morris, Leon, Jesus is the Christ, Studies in the Theology of John, (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989), 9

[3]”Gospel of John.” Theopedia, an Encyclopedia of Biblical Christianity June 2009. http://www.theopedia.com/Gospel_of_John. (30 July 2010) [4] The Zondervan Corporation, NIV Archaeological Study Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: The Zondervan Corporation,2005), 1729

[5] The Zondervan Corporation, NIV Archaeological Study Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: The Zondervan Corporation,2005), 1563

[6] The Zondervan Corporation, NIV Archaeological Study Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: The Zondervan Corporation,2005), 1666

[7] The Zondervan Corporation, NIV Archaeological Study Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: The Zondervan Corporation,2005), 1744

[8] Towns, Elmer, The Gospel of John, Believe and Live, (Chattanooga, Tennessee: AMG Publishers, Scofield Ministries,2002), 221

[9] McFarland, Kathy L. “The Powers of the LORD God Expressed Through Jesus Christ in the Book of John.” Becker Bible Studies Christology Sept 2008. http://www.guidedbiblestudies.com/theology/Christology_Signs.html. (30 July 2010)


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