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Miracles of the Gospels

Who is Jesus?: The Bible's Gospel Miracle Stories Describe His Ministry

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The Gospels describe a famous miracle of Jesus mastering nature by calming a ferocious storm.

The painting "In a Storm with Jesus" (1926) by Eero Järnefelt, public domain

The miracles recorded in the Gospels (the Bible's books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are dramatic stories that have become famous worldwide. They revolve around the work of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the world’s savior. Every miracle of Jesus that the Gospels describe reveals something about his ministry.

The word “gospel” means “good news,” and it refers to the good news of Jesus’ message: salvation for the world’s people, because of his sacrificial payment for human sin to connect people with a righteous God. In John 14:11, Jesus says that his miracles are intended to help show people that he is truly divine: "Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.”

More Than What Was Written Down

The Gospels describe many different miracles that Jesus performed for others during his three-year ministry, plus miracles affecting himself (such as resurrection from the dead and ascension to heaven). But the Gospels say that they present just a fraction of the amount of miracles Jesus performed. The apostle John writes in John 20:30-31: "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." Also, besides the canonical Gospels (the manuscripts included in the Bible), a variety of apocryphal Gospels (other ancient manuscripts about Jesus) describe other miracles of Jesus. John adds in John 21:25: “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”

Mastering Nature

Many of Jesus’ miracles in the canonical Gospels show his mastery over nature. At the beginning of his ministry, John chapter 2 records that Jesus changes water into wine to help the hosts of a wedding party who have run out of wine for their guests. Later, when a large crowd of hungry people is listening to Jesus speak, Jesus wants to provide lunch for them. So Jesus takes the food that a boy offers to share (two fish and five loaves of barley bread), prays over it, and multiplies the food so that it’s miraculously enough to feed thousands of people, who eat as much as they want and still have food left over (Matthew chapter 14, Mark chapter 6, Luke chapter 9, and John chapter 6).

Jesus shows his mastery over water through two separate miracles. When he and some of the disciples are out on a boat together and a fierce storm hits, the disciples tell Jesus that they’re afraid they’ll drown. But Jesus famously responds “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” (Matthew 8:26) and proceeds to calm the storm's wind and waves (Matthew chapter 8, Mark chapter 4, and Luke chapter 8). The well-known Gospel account of Jesus walking on water (Matthew chapter 14, Mark chapter 6, and John chapter 6) describes Jesus walking from a shore far out onto a lake where the disciples were in a boat. They were afraid at first, thinking that Jesus was a ghost. But Jesus again encourages them to trust and not fear, and even makes it possible for one of them -- Peter -- to walk on the water toward him when Peter asks. Peter is able to do so as long as he trusts Jesus, but when he starts to give into fear again, he sinks, and Jesus reaches out his hand to catch him.

Healing People Spiritually

The miracles recorded in the Gospels also show that Jesus was concerned about healing people spiritually. Several accounts describe Jesus casting out demons from people who had fallen prey to their evil influences and suffered greatly as a result. Jesus exorcises a boy whose demonic possession causes the boy extreme physical suffering, to the point of robbing him of speech and causing dangerous seizures (Matthew chapter 17, Mark chapter 9, and Luke chapter 9). When the boy’s father asks Jesus to help his son, Jesus encourages the father to have faith, saying, “Everything is possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23). The boy’s father responds honestly: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). That was enough for Jesus to act.

Healing People Physically

Jesus performs a wide variety of physical healing miracles in the Gospels, from healing a blind man (Matthew chapter 20, Mark chapter 10, and Luke chapter 18) and a hemorrhaging woman (Matthew chapter 9, Mark chapter 5, and Luke chapter 8), to healing 10 people afflicted with the disfiguring skin disease leprosy (Luke chapter 17).

The stories of Jesus’ miraculous healing of two paralyzed men show how Jesus often expects people to pursue healing by actively seeking his help. When Jesus encounters a man in Bethesda who has been paralyzed for 38 years, Jesus asks the man point blank: “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6). The man responds by giving excuses about how difficult it has been for him to seek healing. Jesus then tells him: “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk,” (John 5:8) and the man was immediately cured when he did so. Similarly, when a paralyzed man’s friends bring him to Jesus in Capernaum on a mat, Jesus “saw their faith” (Matthew 9:2). In response, he forgave the man’s sins and then asked the man to demonstrate his faith by telling him to “Get up, take your mat and go home” (Matthew 9:6). The man discovered that he had been healed when he got up and was able to walk.

Raising People From the Dead

In addition to Jesus’ own resurrection from the dead, the Gospels describe several instances of him miraculously raising other people from the dead. Jesus resurrects the daughter of Jairus, a faithful synagogue member, in Mark chapter 5. In Luke chapter 7, Jesus resurrects the son of a grieving widow.

The most famous account of Jesus raising someone from the dead is recorded in John chapter 11, when he brings his close friend Lazarus back to life after he has been dead for four days. Lazarus’ sisters Mary and Martha and Jesus disciples were disappointed that Jesus hadn’t shown up earlier to help Lazarus when he was sick, but Jesus says “I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe” (John 11:15). Once Jesus arrives at Lazarus’ home and sees how everyone is grieving, he weeps out of his own grief. Then John 11:43-44 records: “Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.”

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