Relevant for Today
The miracles of Jesus were relevant to the people back then. But what about now?
The Gospels record the miracles in order to indicate what happened, but they also have a religious purpose. Through understanding who Jesus is and what he did, we are invited to place our faith in him.
The Gospels indicate that Jesus lived on earth long ago, but now continues to live in heaven, having ascended to the right hand of God (Acts 2:33). The same Jesus who acted with power and compassion on earth still acts with power and compassion now.
Each of the miracles of Jesus happened uniquely at one time and at one place. In their detailed configuration they will never be repeated. But they have pertinence for us now, because they are “signs” (John 20:30-31). They signify truths concerning God, concerning Christ, and concerning the salvation he has brought.
The miracles of Jesus have at least three kinds of significance, corresponding roughly to three aspects of who Jesus is.
1. They Show that Jesus Is Fully God
Let us begin with the first aspect, namely Jesus’s deity. John 1:1 indicates that Jesus is God. From all eternity he exists as the Word, the second person of the Trinity. The miracles as works of divine power confirm his deity. In the minds of many Christian readers, Jesus’s deity is what stands out in the miracles. But the people who originally saw Jesus’s miracles did not understand their full significance right away.
In Luke 7:16 the people identified Jesus as “a great prophet.” He was indeed a prophet; but he was more. He was God come in the flesh (John 1:14). Consider the miracles in the Old Testament that took place through prophets like Elijah and Elisha. These miracles were works of divine power. God brought them about. Elijah and Elisha did not accomplish them by their own innate power. Should we say exactly the same thing about Jesus?
No, because Jesus made claims that went beyond those of Old Testament prophets. He is the unique Son of the Father, and his name is honored alongside the name of the Father and the Spirit as a divine name (Matt. 28:19). When we understand the miracles of Jesus in the context of who he is, we see that they are works that Jesus did by his own divine power, not merely works of God done through a human prophet:
. . . the Son gives life to whom he will. (John 5:21)