Jesus?" part 8
The Miracle Worker
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
May 30, 2010
we’ve spent the better part of two months trying to answer the
question, “Who Is Jesus?” And so far we’ve covered a lot of territory.
But one area that we haven’t discussed in much detail yet is actually
one of the best known aspects of His ministry… His miracles.
ask around, and I’d bet a lot of people would be able to name at least
one of the miracles of Jesus… How He walked on water… how He fed over
5000 people with just a couple fish and five loaves of bread… How He
raised Lazarus from the dead… How He could calm a mighty storm with the
sound of His voice… How He healed lepers, gave sight to the blind, and
enabled the lame to walk.
Jesus is well known today as a miracle
worker, and even back in the day He had that reputation among the
people. In fact, a lot of people only came out to hear His message
because they were hoping to see Him perform a miracle. And it all
started with His very first miracle, which took place at a wedding when
He turned water into wine. And the news spread about Him from there.
I think it’s pretty funny how that miracle came about. You see, in that
culture, wedding celebrations would go on for days. And a big part of
the festivities would be to enjoy a lot of wine. Well, we don’t even
know who the bride and the groom were, but we do know that they ran out
of wine. And while today, if you were serving wine at your wedding that
might seem inconvenient or even a little embarrassing, back then it
would have been downright humiliating. It would have brought a shame on
the family that they would never live down.
So Jesus’ mother,
Mary—who was also invited to the wedding—volunteered her Son to do
something about it. And Jesus was like, “No Mom, not now… it’s not the
right time…” And Mary just kind of ignored Him and told the servants to
do whatever Jesus told them to do. So I can picture Jesus just kind of
sighing and going, “Oh, Mom.”
And then He performed the
miracle. He told the servants to fill some jars with water, and then to
serve that water to the guests, starting with the Master of Ceremonies.
And the MC who was unaware of what was going on took the cup, took a
sip, and was amazed at how good the wine was.
It may have
happened a little earlier than He had planned… it may have happened at
the urging of His mother (and I think there’s a lot we can learn from
that about the respect that Jesus had for His mother), but regardless
of why it happened it was the first of something like 35 miracles we’re
told about in the Gospels (the first four books of the New Testament).
depending on who’s counting, there are between 33 and 40 miracles
mentioned. Here’s a list of 35 of Jesus’ miracles that Larry Richards
identified in his book, “Every Miracle of the Bible.”
Miracles of Jesus:
1. Jesus Turns Water Into Wine (Jn 2: 1- 11)
2. Jesus Heals The Noble Man’s Son (John 4:46-54)
3. Jesus Provides A Great Catch Of Fish (Lk 5:1-11)
4. Jesus Heals A Demonic In A Synagogue (Mark 1:21-28, Luke 4:31-37)
5. Jesus Heals His Peter’s Mother-In-Law (Mt 8:14-15, Mark 1:29-31,
6. Jesus Cleanses A Leper (Mark 1:40-45, Luke 5:12-15)
7. Jesus Heals A Paralytic (Mt 9:2-7, Mark 2:3-12, Lk. 5:18-26)
8. Jesus Heals A Cripple At Bethesada (John 5: 1-18)
9. Jesus Heals A Withered Hand (Mt 12:9-12, Mark 3:1-6, Luke 5:6-10,)
10. Jesus Heals A Centurion’s Servant (Mt 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-10)
11. Jesus Raises A Widow’s Son (Luke 7:11-17)
12. Jesus Stills A Storm (Mt 8:23-27, Mk 4:35-41, Lk 8:22-25)
13. Jesus Delivers A Demonic In Gedara (Mt 8:28-34, Mk 5:1-20, Luke
14. Jesus A Woman Of A Hemorrhage (Mt 9: 20-22, Mk 5:25-34, Luke
15. Jesus Raises Jairus’s Daughter (Mt 9:18-26, Mk 5:22-43, Luke
16. Jesus Heals Two Blind Men (Matt. 9:27-31)
17. Jesus Cast Out A Mute Spirit (Matt. 9:32-25)
18. Jesus Feeds The 5,000 (Mt 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17,
19. Jesus Walks On Water (Matt. 14:22-33, Mark 6:45-52, John 6: 15-21)
20. Jesus Heals A Syro-Phoneician Girl(Mt 15:21-28, Mk 7:24-30)
21. Jesus Heals the Deaf and the Dumb Man (Mark 7:31-37)
22. Jesus Feeds The 4,000 (Mt 15:30-38, Mark 8:1-9)
23. Jesus Heals The Blind Man (Mark 8:22-26)
24. Jesus Delivers The Demonized Boy (Mt 17:14-21, Mk 9:14-29, Luke
25. Jesus Provides Money In A Fish’s Mouth (Matt. 17:24-27)
26. Jesus Heals A Man Born Blind (Jn 9:1-7)
27. Jesus Heals A Woman Bound By Satan (Luke 13: 10-17)
28. Jesus Heals A Man With Dropsy (Luke 14:1-6)
29. Jesus Raises Lazarus (John 11)
30. Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers (Luke 17:11-19)
31. Jesus Heals Bartimaeus (Mt 20:29-34, Mark 10:46-52, Luke 18:35-43)
32. Jesus Curses A Fig Tree (Mt 21:17-22, Mark 11: 12-14, 20-24)
33. Jesus Replaces Malchus’s Ear (Mt 26:51-56, Mk4: 46-47, Lk 22:50-51,
Jn 18: 10-11)
34. Wonders At Calvary
35. Jesus Provides A Catch Of Fish (Jn 21:1-14)
[Larry Richards. “Every Miracle of the
Bible.” ( Nashville: Thomas Nelson Pub., 1998) pp. 198-199]
of those miracles were witnessed by individuals, some just by His
disciples, some by small groups of people, and others by hundreds or
even thousands of people at the same time. Some of the miracles in that
list were recorded by all four writers of the Gospels; some of the
miracles are only mentioned once. None of the Gospels records all 35 in
the same book.
Okay, so that’s a list of 35 miracles, and
that’s just skimming the surface of what Jesus actually did. This is
what we’re told in the last verse of the fourth Gospel…
John 21:25 (NLT)
also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose
the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.
So yeah, we’re told about 35 miracles. But there were a lot more that
we’re not told about.
so we’re talking about the miracles of Jesus. It’d probably be a good
idea for us to describe what a miracle actually is. Because maybe we’ve
got a few different ideas here. Well, in a book written by Erwin
Lutzer, there’s a pretty good description of what a miracle is not and
what a miracle is. Lutzer says…
Is a Miracle?
popular but wrong definition is to say that a miracle is a point in
time in which God intervenes in the world…. That definition fails for
one good reason: It gives the false impression that God only
occasionally intervenes in the world. … A miracle happens when God, who
is continuously active in the world, breaks His usual pattern and does
~ Erwin W. Lutzer
“Seven Convincing Miracles.” (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999) pp. 16-17]
you understand what he’s talking about there? God’s already at work in
this world, and He always has been. So it’s not as if He just pops up
here and there to perform a miracle. Because He’s already here. It’s
not as if He just checks in on us during commercials… He’s always tuned
in on us. Miracles are more like the times that God colours outside the
lines. He moves outside of the boundary of the laws of nature—which
He’s free to do because He set them up in the first place—and it’s what
He does in those moments that we recognize as being miracles.
in talking about what a miracle is, we can also recognize that there
are three primary categories of miracles that Jesus performed. You can
write these in your notes…
Primary Categories of Jesus’ Miracles:
The blind, the lame, the deaf, the lepers
when He cast out the mute spirit in Matthew 9, or in Mark chapter 5
when He freed a man who was possessed by so many demons that they
called themselves “Legion”
VIDEO - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4e2ObogYCE
- Remember the episode of Happy Days when Fonzie was trying to go to
sleep outside, but the sound of all the animals in the woods was
keeping Him awake. So he sat up and said, “Cool it!” And there wasn’t a
Well, I kind of picture Jesus doing that when he’s out in a
boat with His followers and they’re caught in a storm. Jesus is fine,
but everyone else is scared. So Jesus basically tells the storm to
“Cool it!” And it does!
Raising the dead
Like He did with Lazarus and with Jairus’ daughter
so healing people, casting out demonic spirits, exercising control over
nature, and raising the dead. Those are really four arbitrary
categories for describing the miracles of Jesus, but they do show the
full range of authority that Jesus has to perform miracles.
Oh, and if you think that was just for way back then and that Jesus
isn’t in the miracle business today… well, a few things.
doesn’t Jesus Perform Miracles Today?
Even in the Bible, miracles are sporadic.
are clustered around specific times in history. There would be an
outbreak of miracles, and then there’d be no miracles mentioned for
hundreds of years. So even in Bible times, it’s not like miracles were
an everyday occurrence. At least not in a high-profile way.
Sometimes a miracle wouldn’t make any impact.
if someone is really set against placing their faith in Jesus, even a
miracle isn’t going to change their mind. So there’s no point in Jesus
performing a miracle in those instances. In one of His parables, Jesus
made this statement…
Luke 16:31 (NLT)
“‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen
even if someone rises from the dead.’”
maybe you don’t see miracles happening because there’s a lack of faith
or a lack of openness to recognize the miracles when they do happen.
And really, I think that happens a lot.
We don’t recognize them when they do happen.
think a lot of times a miracle happens, we just don’t recognize it as a
miracle. We don’t understand that Jesus is behind it. How often do we
pray about something, and then the problem gets resolved and we credit
it to our own ingenuity? We think we figured it out all on our own.
Or we recover from a life-threatening illness, and we credit it to our
doctors or our will to live.
we really need something to come together for us and then it does… and
we call it a coincidence. Do you think maybe Jesus is doing a lot more
behind the scenes than we give Him credit for? I think so. So maybe we
don’t see more miracles happening because we’re blinded to them.
Actually, He DOES still perform miracles today.
think the truth is Jesus does still perform miracles today. And you do
experience them or you hear about them from time to time. The problem
is, here in North America we’ve become so skeptical and so close-minded
that we don’t recognize a miracle when we see one. And even Jesus
mentioned that there were times He didn’t perform miracles because the
people had a lack of faith…
Matthew 13:58 (NIV)
And [Jesus] did not do many miracles there because of their lack of
maybe that explains why we don’t see more miracles here in North
America today. But the truth is, Jesus is still at work in this world.
Let me show you a video about a powerful miracle Jesus performed
through a Wesleyan missionary team in Mozambique…
[VIDEO - http://wesleyan.org/gp/assets/videos/JFP_Telefina_07.mov]
Jesus is still in the miracle business. Whether there’s not a lot of
miracles, or whether we just don’t recognize them, that doesn’t negate
the fact that there are some. Jesus is still exercising His power and
authority over diseases and disabilities, over evil spirits, over
nature, and over life and death.
But to really
understand why they don’t happen more often, I think it would help for
us to realize why the do happen. When He does perform a miracle, why
does He do it then?
Is The Purpose of Jesus’ Miracles?
it’s obvious that most times when Jesus performs a miracle He’s
addressing a specific need that someone has. That was true in Bible
times and it’s true today. And that’s usually as far as we go in
examining His motives. But if that were His primary motive, I think it
would be fair for us to expect Him to perform a lot more miracles
because there are a lot more needs. I’ve got needs, you’ve got needs,
we’ve all got needs. And if Jesus performs miracles just to address
specific needs, then how about those needs?
Well, could I suggest that there may be a deeper reason for Jesus’
To validate the identity and the message of Jesus
And I think we see that in a couple different places in the Gospel of
John 20:30-31 (NLT)
disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the
ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may
continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that
by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.
you see it? We’re told about the life of Jesus, including His miracles,
so that we will understand who He really is and will believe in His
The other verse is found right after the miracle we talked about
earlier when Jesus turned the water into wine…
John 2:11 (NLT)
This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus
revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
that very first miracle of Jesus served to validate His identity to the
disciples and solidified His relationship with them. They believe Him
and trusted Him after that miracle.
So His miracles are meant to
validate His identity and His message. They reveal something about His
character, and they serve to strengthen your faith in Him. So with that
in mind, there are a couple questions I want to encourage you to ask
when you read about one of His miracles… these are in your notes…
reading about Jesus’ miracles, ask:
• What does this miracle reveal about the
person of Christ?
• What does this miracle say to me today?
happen for a reason… in the Bible and in our world today. So when you
read about one in the Bible or when you experience one or hear about
one today, try to find out why. Figure out what Jesus is trying to
communicate to you.
And can I also encourage you to begin to
expect miracles to happen? I’m not the type of person who
super-spiritualizes everything. Like when I roll up my rim and actually
win something, I don’t credit it as an act of God (although maybe I
should)… but when you have needs in your life, why not turn to Jesus as
your first resort instead of your last? How about asking Him to step
in? How about expecting Him to do something?
[If you’re reading
this outside of Canada, there’s a coffee chain here called Tim Hortons
that every year has a “Roll Up the Rim to Win” contest. You roll up the
rim of your cup to reveal if you win a prize or not. Typically, I
Think about it… what needs do we have? I’m sure we have
plenty. Most of them are probably pretty small, but some of them would
be biggies. Do you understand that Jesus cares about each and every one
of them? Here, let me show you a few verses… In Luke 12 Jesus describes
how valuable you are to God… and remember, He Himself is God…
Luke 12:6-7 (NLT)
is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget
a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.
So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of
Matthew 7:9-11 (NLT)
“You parents—if your children
ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they
ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you
sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much
more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”
the question I have for you this morning is simply this: have you told
Jesus about your need? I wonder how many of us, myself included, try to
fill all of our needs ourselves without ever involving Jesus. Sure, we
may run to Him when our world is collapsing, our health is failing, our
kids are headed in the wrong direction, our spouse wants nothing to do
with God, our job is gone, or the ground beneath our feet is literally
shaking…and we’ll cry for a miracle then, but do we ask Jesus to get
involved in our everyday needs, and do we thank Him when He does?
about your needs. And if the answer doesn’t come immediately… if a
miracle doesn’t happen… then keep praying. The Old Testament Book of
Daniel teaches us that sometimes the answer to our prayers is coming
but is simply delayed. And Jesus Himself encourages us to be persistent
in praying for our needs. He loves us, and He wants to help us. And
many times, I think He’s all set to perform a miracle in our lives
except we never ask Him or we give up on Him too quickly.
understand this: Jesus wants us to trust in Him, not just so He can do
some miracles in our life, but because He’s already performed the
greatest miracle of all. He exchanged our hopelessness for hope. He
exchanged our sinfulness with forgiveness. We were spiritually dead,
and He raised us to life.
If you are a Christ-follower, then
you’ve already experienced that incredible miracle. If not, then you
can this morning. Choose to trust Him. Choose to place your faith in
Him. Choose to follow Him from this moment on, and experience the
miracle of rebirth that He has waiting for you.
Getting to Know Jesus, #6 - Miracles by Steven Buhr
Introduction to the Miracles of Jesus by John Hamby