Why Does Jesus Perform Miracles?

The New Testament records Jesus performing 35 miracles: 21 in Matthew’s Gospel, 20 in Mark’s Gospel, 21 in Luke’s Gospel and eight in John’s Gospel.  These include (1) “healing” miracles (13 in Matthew’s Gospel, 12 in Mark’s Gospel, 15 in Luke’s Gospel and three in John’s Gospel), (2) “command over the forces of nature” miracles (six in Matthew’s Gospel, six in Mark’s Gospel, three in Luke’s Gospel and four in John’s Gospel) and (3) “bringing the dead back to life” miracles (two in Matthew’s Gospel, two in Mark’s Gospel, three in Luke’s Gospel and one in John’s Gospel).

The following is a list of the 35 miracles performed by Jesus in the New Testament.  The “healing” miracles of Jesus are: (#1) Man with Leprosy, (#2) Roman Centurion’s Servant, (#3) Peter’s Mother-In-Law, (#4) Two Men from Gadara, (#5) Paralyzed Man, (#6) Woman with Bleeding, (#7) Two Blind Men, (#8) Man Mute and Possessed, (#9) Man with a Shriveled Hand, (#10) Man Blind, Mute and Possessed, (#11) Canaanite Woman’s Daughter, (#12) Boy with a Demon, (#13) Two Blind Men, (#14) Deaf Mute, (#15) Man Possessed in Synagogue, (#16) Blind Man at Bethsaida, (#17) Crippled Woman, (#18) Man with Dropsy, (#19) Ten Men with Leprosy, (#20) High Priest’s Servant, (#21) Official’s Son at Capernaum, (#22) Sick Man at Pool of Bethsaida, and (#23) Man Born Blind.  The “command over the forces of nature” miracles of Jesus are: (#24) Calming the Storm, (#25) Walking on the Water, (#26) Feeding of the Five Thousand, (#27) Feeding of the Four Thousand, (#28) Coin in the Fish’s Mouth, (#29) Fig Tree Withered, (#30) Catch of Fish, (#31) Water Turned into Wine, and (#32) Second Catch of Fish.  The “bringing the dead back to life” miracles of Jesus are: (#33) Jairus’ Daughter, (#34) Widow’s Son at Nain, and (#35) Lazarus.

Why does Jesus perform miracles?  Perhaps the language used in John’s Gospel can help to answer this question.  Unlike the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, where Jesus’ miracles are called “miracles,” John’s Gospel calls Jesus’ miracles “signs.”  Why?  Signs give information or point to something.  Examples of signs include advertising billboards and road signs.  Unlike the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, where Jesus is portrayed as doing miracles to help people in need (for one example, see Luke 17:11-19, #19 above), John’s Gospel portrays Jesus as doing miracles to make people believe in Him as someone or something (see John 4:43-54 below, especially verse 48, #21 above).  Why?  Because the people won’t be able to believe in Him as someone or something without the “signs.”

If Jesus’ miracles are “signs,” then what do Jesus’ miracles say about Him or point to Him as being?  The answer depends on the kinds of miracles that Jesus performs.  Some people believe that God can perform “command over the forces of nature” miracles because He does so in the past.  See the creation narrative in Genesis (1:1-2:3) for more information.  Some people believe that the Son of God can perform “healing” miracles because Jesus does so in the past.  Jesus calls God His Father (see Matthew 7:21, 10:32-33, 12:50, 16:17, 18:10, 18:14 and 18:19 for examples) and, as a result, implies that He is the Son of God.  Some people believe that a prophet of God can perform “bringing the dead back to life” miracles because a prophet of God does so in the past.  The Prophet Elijah raises a widow’s son from the dead (see 1 Kings 17:7-24) and the Prophet Elisha raises the Shunammite’s son from the dead (see 2 Kings 4:8-37).  Jesus’ miracles in the New Testament, as “signs,” point to Him as being either: (1) God, (2) the Son of God or (3) a prophet of God.  At the very least, His miracles point to Him as being from God.  This is why Jesus performs miracles.

43 After the two days he left for Galilee.  44 (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.)  45 When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him.  They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there.   46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum.  47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.  48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”  49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”  50 “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”  The man took Jesus at his word and departed.  51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living.  52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”  53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.”  So he and his whole household believed.  54 This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee. – John 4:43-54