Miracles, Signs and Wonders – Part 1

miracles-imageIn the first-century church there was an increase of supernatural works. They fell into three major categories: 1) miracles (dunamis, Gk.) or literally “works of power”; 2) wonders (teras, Gk.) in the sense of phenomena which compel one’s attention or cause one to “look again”; and 3) signs (semeion, Gk.) which may or may not always be supernatural like the first two. They are “signs” in the sense of being comparable to prophecies or spiritual truths. Semeion stresses the spiritual truth embodied in the miracle. (John 20:30,31).

Jesus performed His first sign at a wedding in Cana when He changed water into wine. He then moved onto Capernaum where he healed the centurion’s servant who was paralyzed (Matt 8:5-13) he cast out demons (Matt 8:16-17), stilled the sea (Matt 8:23-27), and restored life to the daughter of a ruler (Matt 9:18-25). He gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf (Mark 7:35), and fed five thousand from five loaves of bread and two fish (Mark 6:39-45). Therefore, when Peter addressed the men of Israel during Pentecost, he proclaimed concerning Jesus, “Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know…” (Acts 2:22)

The miracles, signs, and wonders demonstrated at least four things. First of all they confirmed His claim that He was Israel’s promised Messiah. John the Baptist, while imprisoned sent his disciples to ask Jesus if he was the Expected One. Jesus simply replied by referring to Old Testament prophecy, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” (Matt 11:4,5 and Isaiah 35:5,6 and 61:1) {The raising of the dead was not prophesied of the Messiah in the O.T.} Jesus reasoned that He is the Messiah since He is doing the things that are characteristic of the future Messianic Kingdom prophesied in the Old Testament Scriptures.

Secondly they confirmed His Deity, that he is the Son of God. Jesus told the unbelieving Jews, “If I do not the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” (John 10:38) The miraculous should have convinced them that Jesus was who He claimed to be.

To be continued.

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