JESUS – THE SON OF GOD
The Apostle John recorded Jesus’ miracles from a different perspective from the other three gospel writers. He presented Jesus to his readers as the Son of God.
Jesus performed many other 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 Messiah, the Son of God and that by believing, you may have life in His name (John 20:30-31).
John recorded only seven miracles in his gospel which he referred to as signs. Each miracle focused on a specific aspect of the nature of Jesus. Each of the seven miracles resulted in either an individual or a group putting their faith in Jesus or, at least, responding positively to Him.
- Water to wine (John 2: 11)
The disciples put their faith in Him.
- Healing the official’s son (John 4: 53)
The official and his household believed in Him.
- The paralysed man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5: 15)
The paralysed man who was healed broadcast everywhere what Jesus had done for him.
- The feeding of the five thousand (John 6: 68-69)
Peter confirmed the disciples’ faith in Him.
- Jesus walk on the water (John 6: 19-21)
No record of anyone coming to faith.
- The man born blind (John 9: 38)
The blind man who was healed believed in Jesus.
- Lazarus raised from the dead (John 11: 45)
Martha, Mary and many of the Jews believed in Him.
John’s declared purpose for relating only these seven miracles out of a choice of many others was to bring His readers to faith in Jesus so that they would have eternal life.
John’s choice of signs focuses on one thing – that Jesus’s disciples would see the glory of God in Him and that they would believe.
Not only did He work miracles to relieve people’s suffering and even to call them back from premature death, Jesus also showed His power over the natural world. He calmed a violent storm on the lake, walked on water and multiplied bread and fish to feed a hungry multitude. Was He merely showing off or doing magic, or was He revealing His control over the natural world? Why would He do that?
His disciples were stunned at His power over a stormy lake. He simply spoke and the wind and waves obeyed Him – from violent wind and turbulent water to instant calm. They were awestruck and afraid.
They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey Him?’ (Mark 4: 41)
After He had fed five thousand people with only five small barley loaves and two fish, He sent His disciples back across the lake while He went into the hills to pray. A storm came up on the lake during the night while the disciples were on their way home. Jesus set off after them, walking on the water. When they saw Him, they were terrified, thinking He was a ghost.
Jesus called out to identify Himself and the ever-impetuous Peter, wanting to do what his rabbi did, asked permission to walk on the water as well. To his great surprise, he managed to take a few steps before fear got the better of him. Jesus grabbed him and they both made it to the boat in safety. The minute they climbed into the boat the wind ceased and the lake calmed down. How did the disciples react?
Then those who were in the boat worshipped Him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’ (Matt. 14: 33)
After giving His disciples opportunity to gather evidence, He would ask them, on another occasion, the most important question they would ever have to answer. In a most unlikely environment, Caesarea Philippi, where idols were publicly worshipped by sexual orgies with goats He asked them,
‘But what about you? . . Who do you say that I am?’ (Matt. 16: 15)
Without hesitation Peter, as the spokesman for the group declared:
‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ (Matt. 16: 16)
How did Peter reach this conclusion? Evidence! The accumulative evidence of all that Jesus had said and done led to only one conclusion – Jesus was no ordinary man. He was a man and much more – He was the Son of the living God.
Every rabbi with authority selected disciples in whom he had confidence that they would do what he did and even more. Jesus expressed His confidence in the men He had chosen:
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father. (John 14: 12)
Unlike all other rabbis who trusted their disciples but had no guarantee that they would fulfil their expectation, Jesus could say with confidence that His disciples would do even greater things than He did because He was returning to the Father and would send the Holy Spirit to be in them forever. The same Spirit who empowered Him would do His works through them if they believed.
The apostle Paul declared that we are God’s masterpieces, created in Christ to do the good works He prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2: 10). What are these good works which God has prepared for us to do? According to Jesus, the same works He did, showing mercy to all people!
His commission to His disciples before He left them was to go and make disciples of all nations. He conferred on them the authority He had received from the Father to do the same things He did. This means that the works we do will confirm the authenticity of Jesus as Messiah and the Son of God, with the right and power to forgive sin, testify to the nature of God and His kingdom and proclaim that the kingdom of God is here, just as His works did.
In response to His commission, Jesus’s disciples went everywhere preaching His word as He had commanded them to do.
After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was taken up into heaven and He sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed His word by the signs that accompanied it. (Mark 16: 19-20)
He did not send them out to hold healing and miracle campaigns. The emphasis was not on miracles; it was on the kingdom of God of which Jesus is king. As He was proclaimed, so He confirmed His Word with signs.
This was the testimony of Paul as well.
The things that mark an apostle – signs, wonders and miracles – were done among you with great perseverance. (2 Cor. 12: 12)
Therefore, I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done – by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. (Rom. 15: 18-19)
Did you get the order? First the proclamation of the gospel of Christ – then the signs and wonders which confirmed the Word of God.
Is it not possible that there is far too much focus today on the signs and wonders which people are seeking instead of Jesus the Christ, the Son of God and His kingdom, towards which the miracles point? Miracles have become an end in themselves instead of a confirmation that the kingdom of God is here. Those who claim to live in the kingdom are to walk in the ways of the Lord. It is His role to work with us and to confirm His Word with signs.
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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