JESUS DID MANY SIGNS
30Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31But these are written that you may[a] believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
This year marks the longest Epiphany season for the Church that I've yet seen during my ministry, because of the late dates for Lent and Easter. Perhaps you're aware that the definition of "Epiphany" is to illuminate or shine a spotlight on something. The two items which the Church is chiefly concerned to bring clearly to light during this season are the truths that the historical Man Jesus really is the Son of God, and that His salvation is for all nations — and not just for one or some.
Today's chosen topic, then deals with the miracles of Christ, which clearly identify Him as God the Son. - Two extremes to be avoided are the perspectives that miracles are not really possible and therefore never happened, or that God places His almighty power at our disposal so we can just flip it on or off at whim light a like switch.
During Epiphany we see Jesus as the Promised Messiah, - the Chosen, Appointed, Anointed Agent of God who is the very Son of God. Every miracle He did shows forth His Divine nature, and there were many!
St. John wrote: "..Jesus did many ..signs", and I'd like for us to examine that today.
TYPES OF MIRICLES AND THEIR PURPOSES
Those Involving Nature
From sin's advent into the world, there arose awesome threats to mankind from the realm of Nature and countless ways in which people were unable or barely able to cope. Storms and hunger are some examples.
The first miracle of Jesus was to provide wine at a wedding in Cana when it had run out. Beyond any science yet known today, He changed water into wine. It was a nature miracle, and there were many others that followed.
As He slept in a boat operated by His disciples, a powerful storm arose in which they honestly feared for their lives. Jesus was awakened and issued the command: "Peace; be still!" And the wind and waves obeyed Him — On another occasion as the disciples were out in a boat, Jesus came walking to them on top of the water — Several other times Jesus issued instructions after the disciples had failed miserably while fishing, and they took in such large hauls they could barely get back to shore.
Each of the Gospel writers reports how Jesus multiplied a meager supply of bread and fish to provide a meal for thousands. It also happened on more than on occasion.
When you put such a number of natural miracles side by side, you can begin to see that Jesus demonstrated the omnipotence that only God could ever have over creation, and though Jesus also comes our daily bread.
Casting out demons is another category of signs. –What in Scripture may appear to us as being similar to today's diagnoses of things like schizophrenia or epilepsy, the Bible simply asserts as cases back then of demon possession. In one such instance Jesus commanded the creature within a man to identify himself, which was then answered: "My name is Legion, for we are many."
Satan's domain was powerless and met with the beginning of its defeat in encounters with Jesus during His earthly ministry. No man had such power to command the angels of darkness, but they had to respond to Jesus and depart when He ordered it.
I would be a challenge to count all the physical healings done by Jesus which are reported in Scripture! People who were deaf, dumb, blind, paralyzed and lame, bleeding, suffering life-threatening fevers, and lepers were all healed for example, (even unthankful ones!).
Those are nature miracles, too but they often give the added dimension of the deep, personal compassion and mercy Jesus displayed over human suffering because of sin. Healings were concrete evidence of the love and grace of God for undeserving sinners.
The daughter of Jairus, the son of the widow of Nain, and Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, were each raised from the dead by Jesus. What else could more clearly demonstrate Jesus as being the world's salvation and Son of God?
Christ's Cross and Own Resurrection
St. John's invitation still stands for us though: "That you may believe..." and through believing may have LIFE!
Every sign that Jesus gave committed Him more and more to Calvary's Cross. To grant people release from their various oppressions was to take on Himself the burden of theirs and the world's transgressions. All the signs He did show Him to be God's Anointed, which besides meaning that He was God's beloved Son, also meant that He was marked for death, so that we might be passed over!
Jesus suffered beyond our comprehension. His lifeblood drained from His body. He died. – He didn't deserve to, but chose to die. He perhaps could have refused, but did not. He willingly fulfilled His Father's will that we might be washed clean of all that separates and stand between us and God.
And all the many signs Jesus did served yet one more purpose. That is, each of His miracles served as a preview to the ultimate of all miracles — His own resurrection from death! To Him rightfully belongs the power of all life and death. – And His resurrection is the certain sign for us that God accepted Christ's self-sacrifice as the full restitution for our iniquities.
Christ's miracles prove Him to be God, and they also show us what kind of God: whose power and forgiving grace and love are stupendous! – Jesus is Lord of Heaven and earth! We, who deserve nothing from Him, are graciously invited to simply believe in Him, and through such faith we're guaranteed the gift of LIFE in His Name!
Near the conclusion of his Gospel, St. John gave us words worth pondering:
"There are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written."
What is written is for our benefit. Believe in Him, and His gift of Life is yours! Amen.