The Miraculous Messiah of the Fourth Gospel:

The ministry of Christ is very much concerned with the miraculous, supernatural events. People were often "amazed" by the acts of Christ. In fact, “the Gospels record a total of thirty-five separate miracles.”[1] In the Gospel of John, the very first miracle was the turning of water into wine, as recorded in 2:1–10. John wrote that the miracles performed by Christ, were “miraculous signs” (2:11) or just “signs” (NKJV). The Fourth Gospel has no deficiency in the presence of the miraculous. The miraculous happenings of Christ are only further evidences of an authentic Messiah. These evidences serve to identify Him as the Christ or "anointed one" in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies (Isaiah 35:5–6; 61:1).

As John begins his prologue he reminds us of the most important Christological miracle—the Incarnation (John 1:1; 14, 1 Timothy 3:16). As John reminds us of the Creation story (John 1:1), the Incarnation of the Logos lays the context in which the rest of Jesus’ miracles will be performed.

Turning Water into Wine: Jesus the Creator

In the Gospel of John, the very first miracle was the turning of water into wine (2:1–10). This miracle was performed at a marriage. It is likely that the marriage took place in the home of some friend or relative of either Jesus or Nathanael. As in many ancient weddings, the most favored of wine was usually held until the end. It is possible that many withheld the best wine for last because many would have stopped drinking or would be very full at that time. In this particular wedding, however, the wine runs out. Mary, the mother of Jesus, asks that He do something about the apparent need of more wine. With only a few words and the heeding of the servants, suddenly the situation went from drought to inundation. Jesus had truly turned the water into wine. John claims this time, in 2:11, as the “beginning” (archÄ“) of Jesus’ signs.

Creative miracles express a very special part of deity. The eternal God of the scripture is also the creator of all things. Jesus demonstrates that He has these very same creative powers. It should be mentioned as well, that this miracle occurs just after the Gospels record Christ being tempted by Christ. That which satan solicited with power Jesus gave to those who had genuine needs.

Healing of the Nobleman’s Son: Jesus the Healer

The second miracle performed by Christ is the healing of the nobleman’s son (4:46–54). Two chapters and one year after the first miracle Christ finds Himself, once again, at the very same place—Cana of Galilee. Here a nobleman, possibly an official for Herod, has heard of the miracles of Christ. He simply sees Christ and implores Him to heal his son. Contrary to probably the majority of His miracles, Jesus did not need to physically see or touch the boy to heal him. It was by the faith of this nobleman that his son was raised to life, with Christ never touching him and being about 20 miles away. In this instance we see that our Creator is even our healer.

Healing of the lame man at Bethesda: Jesus is God

Not only does this miracle include the lame being made to walk again, it involves a miracle performed on the Sabbath—even further statement of deity. There was a feast going on simultaneously as well, this caused even more crowds and attention. To heal on the Sabbath involved insanity or a statement of a higher authority. This miracles is positioned to gain the attention of the Jewish leaders by violating their ideas of the Sabbath. Essentially, this miracle gave Christ’s claims to deity broad publicity in the nation's capital. It also positioned Him to testify of His deity in the Sanhedrin. This publicity, however, brought about the decision to kill him (v. 18).

Ironically, the man by the pool did not even know who He was. This stands in contrast to the nobleman prior, who had previously heard of Christ’s powerful acts. The pool of Bethesda would have been busy and crowded. The pool was also used to wash animals for use in sacrifice as well. According to the text, an angel would visit and people would be healed. A custom developed that only one could be healed with each visit of the angel. Jesus interacts with the man and simply tells him to stand and walk. By healing this man Jesus demonstrates that He possessed powers that transcend all human intervention—He was God in the flesh.

Feeding of 5,000 men: Jesus the Bread of Life

This massive supper is the only one of Jesus' miracles that is told in all four Gospels (c.f. Matthew 14:13–33; Mark 6:32–52; Luke 9:10–17). Scholars are undecided as to exact location of this particular miracle, but it was probably not far from the northern side of the Sea of Galilee.

A crowd had gathered and no doubt many were present due to the nearness of the Passover. Once the crowd had spent time with Christ they grew hungry. Financing the meal was out of the question, but miraculous provision from a small boy’s lunch pack would suffice. With two fishes and five barley loaves Jesus fed what John records as 5,000 men. As most prudent cultures indicate, all leftovers are to be gathered at the end of mealtime. The disciples began to take up the leftovers and were able to accumulate 12 baskets full!

John records later comments of Jesus that give us insight into the fuller meaning of this miracle:

“For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. (34) Then they said to Him, Lord, give us this bread always. (35) And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:33-35 NKJV)

Christ tells us, above, that the “bread of God” is “He” who has come down from heaven. Ironically, Christ reveals to them that He is the bread of life. Coming to Christ ensures one that they do not hunger and he who “believes” on Christ shall not thirst.

Walking on water: Jesus Lord over Nature

After the miracle of feeding 5,000 Jesus ascends into the mountains to be alone. The text indicates Christ sought this solitude because his growing followership might force Him to be king. By a night’s sky the disciples sailed towards Capernaum, obviously Christ would tarry long to pray. Mark 6:48 indicates that the time was around 3 a.m. As they sailed a storm blew that caused rough sailing. About three or four miles out the disciples see Jesus walking towards them, on the water. This miracle plainly reveals that the Creator of all things can and even will exercise His sovereign control over the forces of nature.

Healing of the man born blind: Jesus the Light of the World

Once again Jesus performs a miracle (Chapter 9) on the Sabbath day. In fact, Wescott indicates that the Greek is quite emphatic and literally reads, “It was a sabbath on the day on which,”[2] On this day Christ brings light to the darkened eyes of a blind man. Christ’s violation of the Sabbath though, by restoring the sight of this man, angered the Pharisees. In fact, even the parents were called to testify which later gave testimony that this blind man had been so since birth. After intensely interrogating the ex-blind man they conclude that the blind man was born “completely” in sin; thereby condemning this man, by their power, into spiritual darkness—so they said.

Jesus came to bring light into the world, to illumine the hearts and minds of believers. Just prior to the healing of this blind man Christ had just told those following near that He was the “light of the world” (9:5). Indeed, what better way to prove this by bringing light to eyes that has never seen a mere glimpse of light itself?

Lazarus Raised from the dead: Jesus the Resurrection and life

This is a miracle (John 11) situated in irony. It can be determined that this miracle, involving the raising of the dead, probably occurred about a month before Jesus' own death. In fact, this was the third time Christ raised someone from the dead (Jairus's daughter, Mark 5:21–43; the son of the widow of Nain, Luke 7:11–17; and now Lazarus). Ironically, all of these miracles, especially this one, would climax in His own death and resurrection. Even more, this miracle was the very one which brought about a Sanhedrin decision to kill Jesus (John 11:53 ).

After being dead 4 days Lazarus was raised from the dead by Christ. Ironically, in verses 17-27, Christ had just prophesied of His future resurrection, albeit different from being raised from the dead, it does have great affinity.

Miraculous catch of 153 fish: Jesus the Provider

In John 21, the disciples had returned to Galilee, as Jesus had previously told them to do (Matthew 28:7, 10; Mark 16:7). Jesus went away into a certain mountain, for probably a set time. As is typical of the disciples, they resumed their old business and forgot the affairs of the spiritual. Some scholars attest that this location may have been at, or near, the same spot where two or three years before He had first called them to become fishers of men (Luke 5:1–11).

Besides giving them the call to feed the spiritually hungry, Christ gives them a miraculous catch of fish, as He had also done several years before. This particular miracle is actually the third time Christ has appeared to the disciples since His resurrection. He continues heavenly provision just prior to His ascension by providing for them once again.

Christ is our redeemer, our miracle worker. He is God in flesh.



[1] Charles C. Ryrie, The Ryrie Study Bible (nasb) (Chicago: Moody, 1978), 1973.

[2] The Gospel according to St. John Introduction and notes on the Authorized version. 1908. Greek text and "Revised version" on opposite pages.; Edited by Arthur Westcott. (B. F. Westcott & A. Westcott, Ed.) (146). London: J. Murray.

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