The Miracles of Jesus
The Miracles of Jesus
The miracles performed by Jesus were visible emblems of who He was and what He came to do. It is impossible to read of His miracles without learning of Him. A survey of the major characteristics of all the miracles of Jesus reveals their unique and historical character.
The miracles of Jesus are always presented as historical events.
The narrative of each miracle reads the same as the accounts of natural events. If they are in any way fictitious, it is not evident by reading the text. Jesus stood over Peter’s mother-in-law and “rebuked the fever, and it left her (Luke 4:39),” Does it not sound like Luke is reporting something that really happened? All of the miracles recorded in the gospels were events that actually happened in exactly the way the gospel writer tells us they did.
The miracles of Jesus are entirely reasonable if Jesus is who He claimed to be.
Jesus claimed to be God. If we believe He is God, and if God is all-powerful, what is unusual about a miracle that turned water to wine or raised a dead man to life? These tings would be normal activity to the Creator-God.
The miracles of Jesus were always benevolent, never retaliatory.
The miracles that Jesus performed always bestowed good things; they were never used to punish or injure. On one occasion, the disciples suggested that a miracle of punishment be performed. Their suggestion is recorded in Luke 9:52-55, Jesus was headed for Jerusalem for the final week of His life on earth. He sent some of the disciples ahead to make arrangements for His arrival. They had entered a city of the Samaritans and they were refused. “And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, ‘ Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?’ But He turned and rebuked them.” The miracles of Jesus never punished anyone, they always blessed men or women.
The miracles of Jesus were never performed with an expectation of compensation.
Jesus was never paid for a miracle He performed. As a matter of fact, He did not even require a ‘thank you.’ Once, He healed ten lepers, and only one returned to thank Him. Jesus was gracious in the salvation He offered, and He was equally gracious in the miracles of kindness extended to many people.
The miracles of Jesus were spontaneous; the healings He performed required no convalescence.
Peter’s mother-in-law had suffered a ‘high fever’ and Jesus healed her instantaneously. One would expect, however, that she would be exhausted when the fever broke. Isn’t a high fever normally followed by a period of exhaustion? Does one feel ‘wrong out’ after a fever? But we are told that upon her healing, “she immediately arose and waited on them (Luke 4:39).” The gospel writers repeatedly tell of vigorous activity that immediately follows the healings of Jesus.
The miracles of Jesus were undeniable.
Jesus had the fiercest of enemies, and yet none of them ever charged Him with fraud or deception in regard to any miracle He ever performed. Wouldn’t the Scribes and Pharisees have loved to prove that the healing of a lame man was a hoax? Wouldn’t it have been to their advantage to show that Lazarus was never raised from the dead or that the healing of a blind man from birth was a ruse? Why didn’t they attempt to do this? The answer is simple – the miracles were real and they knew it – it was futile to deny the reality of Jesus’ miracles.
If Jesus’ enemies knew that Jesus really performed miracles and on one could deny it, then how did they handle His miracles? They did so by affirming that they were true miracles but assigned the power by which they were performed to Satan. They could not deny their reality, so they attempted to taint their source.
The miracles of Jesus were performed before great crowds.
When Jesus healed a paralytic, Mark tells us “many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, even near the door... (Mark 2:2).” Jesus’ miracles were not performed in secret and then proclaimed to the masses. They were performed before the masses so each could see and hear and observe what happened. No one in a crowd ever said a miracle never happened. One of the characteristics of the ministry of Jesus was its openness.
The Miracle Catch, Luke 5: 1-11
Luke 5:1-11 tells us of one of the most significant miracles performed by Jesus. It conveyed important truth to the disciples and marks their transition from fishermen to fishers of men. Let’s look at this specific miracle in its four parts.
The Setting: Jesus was “teaching the multitudes from the boat. 5:1-3
Gennesaret is another name for the Sea of Galilee, which has been called “the most sacred sheet of water this earth contains.” Isaiah prophesied that it would be the scene of the activities of the Messiah (Isaiah 9: 1-2). As Jesus was teaching the multitudes, He observed some fishermen “washing their nets” Nets were washed before hanging them up to dry. This, along with docked boats meant the fishermen were through for the day. Little did they know that their day was far from over, as Luke will tell us.
The Confession: Simon said: Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing. 5: 4-5
The words spoken by Peter were in response to the Lord’s command, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Several observations about Jesus command are significant. In the first place, the best time for fishing was at night, not day; and it was now about noon – midday! Second, the deep waters were the worst place to fish.
Imagine the scene: The disciples were professional fishermen and Jesus, a carpenter by trade, was telling them how to fish. The disciples had put forth their best efforts all night long, had caught nothing, are washing their nets to end the unsuccessful night, and Jesus says, “Let down your nets for a catch.”
The Lord was asking them to cast their nets at the wrong place, at the wrong time, under the wrong conditions. Imagine then the conflict in Peter’s mind. Peter’s knowledge and experience said “don’t’ cast the nets,” but his faith in the Lord said “do.” Happily, Peter’s faith won the day with the marvelous results we shall see.
The Catch: “they enclosed a great quantity of fish…” 5: 6-7
As they cast their nets in obedience to the Lord, they were immediately filled with fish so that the nets began to slowly break apart; help was summoned and soon both boats were filled and began to sink. A sinking boat is enough to get anyone’s attention—especially if one is in it.
The Commission: “from now on you will be catching men.” 5:8-11
Peter, leading the others, fell at Jesus feet saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” With these words, the spiritual lessons of the miracle begin. This was not the first miracle Peter had seen Jesus perform; so one might well ask, ‘Why did the catching of the fish elicit such a strong response from Peter?’ The answer probably lies in that this miracle was performed in an area where Peter rightly considered himself an expert – fishing.
Peter’s words express an attitude that must exist among those who would be the Lord’s servants – an attitude of unworthiness.
As long as man considers himself worthy of the Lord’s blessing, it is always withheld. God is a Lord of grace and His blessings are reserved for those who come with empty hands waiting to be filled with blessings from the storehouse of divine grace.
As the Lord commissions the disciples, they are told that from this day they would be ‘catching men.’ The Greek word translated “catching” means to “capture alive.” The lives of the disciples had been spent catching fish in order to kill and consume; they will spend their new life catching men in order to show them the way to eternal life.
This same word is used in one other place in the New Testament, and its use is striking. In 2nd Timothy 2:26 Paul speaks of Satan’s snare, which has ensnared men who are ‘held captive by him to do his will.” Herein is spiritual warfare. Men may be captured for Christ for His glory or captured by Satan to do his insidious will.
LESSONS THE DISCIPLES LEARNED from the Miracle
Why the enormous catch of fish?
While it is true that the Lord is always lavish in His giving, there is more of a lesson here than that. The disciples have been called upon to leave all, including their profession as fishermen, to follow Him. Imagine their thoughts – how will we support ourselves, how will we support our families if we abandon our life-long jobs of fishing? What will our livelihood be? The miracle supplies the answer. The bulging nets convey a single truth: The Lord Himself will take care of you. Though they will abandon their livelihood, He will supply their needs, and in that abundance.
Peter’s words, “Depart from me,” demonstrates the blessing of denied petition.
Suppose Jesus had one what Peter asked Him to do. What a tragedy it would have been. What if the Lord answered every petition we made with a “yes.” Would the tragedy be less for us than Peter?
How did Jesus Know where the fish were?
Jesus knew where the fish were because He was omniscient. There are many demonstrations of this found in the gospel accounts. He knew what men were thinking (Luke 5:22, John 2:24-25); He knew where men were and what they would be doing at a particular moment. (Mark 14:12-14, John `:47-49)
But the question could be answered another way. Not only was Jesus omniscient, He was also omnipotent. He knew where the fish were, but He also had the power to put them there at the very moment He wished them to be there. IF he knows the stars by name, as Isaiah tells, He could well have summoned each fish to the side of the boat and into the nets. Who could resist His call for one moment, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.” And so “they left everything and followed Him.”