Chapter 2

What Kind of Miracles Did Jesus Do?

The laws of nature have operated since the beginning of time with high predictability. But if the Creator actually came to earth in the God-Man Jesus Christ, there is reason to believe that these laws would obey Him. The uniqueness of His miracles lay in His power over His own creation.

Power Over Disease

The Bible teaches that sickness and death entered this world through the misused freedom of our original parents (genesis 3; romans 5). Since then, it has been the plight of humankind to deal with all kinds of diseases and ailments.

Jesus cured diseases by a word or a touch. An example of His power is recorded in Mark 2:9-12. There, Jesus forgives the sins of a paralyzed man—which was blasphemy in the eyes of the religious leaders who had gathered to hear Him teach. They believed God alone had the authority to forgive sins. To prove His authority and identity, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “Take up your bed, and go.”

The man’s healing was immediate. He not only had the use of his limbs but was also given the strength to carry the bed that for so long had been his prison. He left the crowd and headed for home.

What is so significant about this healing is that it cannot be explained as a psychosomatic cure. This was not about a man’s ability to believe, but about withered, twisted legs that became immediately and visibly whole at the word of Jesus.

The effect on the crowd was understandably one of wonder. The Greek word translated “amazed” is existemi (lit. “to be beside oneself”). But the reaction of the crowd was not just awe in response to an unexplainable act. The miracle also prompted them to glorify God (v. 12). The onlookers recognized that the source of the miraculous healing was the Creator who had initiated the healing process by supernatural means. Now they had reason to take Jesus seriously when He offered to forgive sins.

Power Over Nature

American writer and humorist Mark Twain wrote, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” The truth is, all we can do is talk. We really can’t change the weather, no matter how much we wish we could.

In contrast to our inability to control weather, Mark 4:37-41 describes Jesus calming a violent storm with a simple word.

It happened on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus’ disciples, seasoned fishermen who knew the water and the weather, were taking Jesus across the lake. This time, however, they were caught off guard. As Jesus slept in the stern, conditions on the lake suddenly turned bad and the wind began pushing waves over the gunwales of the boat. Jesus’ friends became alarmed and woke Him from His sleep.

But what happened next terrified the men in the boat. Jesus spoke to the wind and sea, “Peace, be still!” (v. 39). “Peace” is perhaps best rendered “Hush” or “Be quiet,” the language used to speak to an agitated child. The atmospheric conditions changed immediately. “The wind ceased and there was a great calm” (v. 39).

Jesus’ disciples “feared exceedingly.” They asked each other, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (v. 41). The word translated “obey” was a Greek word used of a person answering a knock at the door to let someone in. The implication is that the wind and water listen to their Creator and let Him alter their process. The disciples witnessed Jesus’ authority over the laws of nature.

Power Over the Spirit World

Horror films like The Exorcist have given many a Hollywood version of demon possession. But the Bible offers quite a different version. It describes fallen angels who came into our world after being expelled from heaven (isaiah 14:12-21; ezekiel 28; ephesians 6:10-18). These entities oppose the purposes of God and have at times gained access to human bodies and personalities.

In Mark 5:1-20, we read about a demon-possessed man who lived on the east side of the Sea of Galilee in a cemetery. He could be heard crying out day and night as he cut himself with stones. The demons inhabiting him gave him superhuman strength and he had broken all restraints put on him, even chains.

When Jesus encountered the man, He confronted the demon within him and asked its name. One demon spoke, “My name is Legion; for we are many” (v. 9). Knowing Jesus’ power and authority, the demons anticipated their expulsion from the man. They feared being sent “into the abyss” (luke 8:31), so they asked to be cast into a large herd of hogs feeding nearby. Jesus granted their request, and the demons left the man and took over the bodies of the pigs, which then raced down the mountain and drowned in the lake below.

Jesus demonstrated His power over the spirit world and delivered this tormented man, who was later found by the townspeople “sitting and clothed and in his right mind” (mark 5:15).

This miracle had two different effects. Those who found the man delivered and the hogs destroyed were afraid. They pleaded with Jesus to leave the area. In contrast, the man who had been rescued from his torment had only one desire—to be with the One who had saved him (v. 18).

Power Over Death

It has been said that the only sure things in life are death and taxes. You may cheat one of those, but not the other. Death visits everyone, and it is never a welcome guest. But the death of a child is especially disturbing and distressing.

In Mark 5:35-43, Jairus, the ruler of a synagogue, was grief-stricken over his dying daughter. In desperation, he sought out Jesus of Nazareth—the miracle worker. Sadly, just when Jesus agreed to go see his daughter, word came that the little girl had died. But Jesus responded, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

When Jesus arrived at Jairus’ home, He encountered family and friends mourning the death of the little girl. When He said that she was only sleeping, they laughed; they had seen her lifeless body. Behind their ridicule was the assumption that one can’t be roused from death’s sleep.

Following the distraught mother and father, Jesus, Peter, James, and John walked into the room where the child’s body lay. Picking up a lifeless hand, Jesus said, “‘Talitha, cumi,’ which is translated, ‘Little girl, I say to you, arise.’” In response to the power behind this gentle command, the girl got up and walked around.

Although little else is recorded beyond those present being “overcome with great amazement” (v. 42), there must have been tears and hugs between a living, healthy child and her amazed and grateful parents.

In response to Jairus’ faith and despite the mourners’ disbelief, Jesus showed power over death.

Jesus’ miracles showed the authority He had over disease, nature, the spirit world, and even death. However, despite the fact that Jesus’ miracles helped those in need, not everyone thought His miracles were wonderful.