The Messianic Miraclesof Jesus
All the miracles Jesus did pointed to Him to be Israel's Messiah. Jesus did not just heal the sick and raise the dead for the express purpose of taking their suffering away or to show the power He had. The purpose was to produce the credentials of His kingdom. Jesus life ministry was to physically heal so that they would know from these healings He was their Messiah. As exhibited in Mk.2 For which is easier to say, thy sins are forgiven you or to say, arise and walk? But that you may know that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins.” The purpose was to show that he had authority on earth, but He never let the miracles become the focus of His ministry.
The miracles done before Mt.12 were for the benefit of the people, faith was not necessary for all. After Mt.12 and the rejection of him being the Messiah led by the religious leaders he responded to individual people on the basis of their faith . Before the Mt.12. rejection Jesus’ policy was, tell the people what God has done for them After the rejection there is a policy of silence, they are told not to tell anyone. When he healed people he said, sshhh don’t tell anyone, he never organized a healing crusade to attract followers. The miracles continued but instead of the original purpose of pointing to Him as the Messiah, it changed. It then became training for the disciples who would be the Apostles. Jesus said the only sign left that would be given is the sign of Jonah- “his resurrection.” Jesus now wanted people to come to their own conclusions on who He was.
Jesus performed miracles of a quality and quantity not seen prior to His sojourn on earth by any prophet. Moses stated in Deut.18:15 There would be a prophet like unto Moses-Just as Moses fed the people supernaturally with manna, the Messiah fed 3,000 and 5,000 people fulfilling the prophecy that he would be like Moses. When he walked on water it was similar to Moses parting the waters and walking through without getting wet.
Moses foretold of this one who would be like him , it is he Israel should listen to Num. 14:11 Then the LORD said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? Vs.22 “because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice.”
When Jesus came it was no different…
John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. The masses followed Him for the temporal benefit they received through His signs and wonders, but when push came to shove, everyone including His closest disciples abandoned Him. Jesus never allowed signs and wonders to be amplified above his message. He met their spiritual needs as priority before he would meet their physical needs.
There are approximately 36 miracles recorded by the apostles in the gospels. John writes in 21:25: “there were many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” Out of 31/2 years of ministry approximately 1400 days only 36 miracles were recorded, certainly Jesus could have performed all these in one week or even one day. But the authors were lead to pick out certain ones throughout His ministry. Their emphasis was on Jesus, His teachings, His communicating the nature of God to man.
Sometime prior to the coming of Yeshua (Jesus), the Rabbis divided miracles into two separate categories: those that anyone could perform if empowered to do so and those reserved only to Messiah. As Yeshua performed both types of miracles during His First Coming, There are three main miracles that would help the Jewish people recognize who the Messiah is when he came. There are three main miracles that were reserved for the Messiah that would help the Jewish people recognize who the Messiah is when he came.
1) The first Messianic miracle was the healing of a leper. The Mosaic Law, stated a person could only be defiled by a living human body by touching a leper. One was called ceremonially unclean or defiled, by touching a dead human body, a dead animal body, or a live, unclean animal body, such as a pig. under the Mosaic Law, their was only one type of living human that could possibly cause defilement, that was a leper. Mk.1:40-45 records Jesus’ first description of a healing miracle. Leprosy affected everything they were considered unclean and it was associated with sin. One could not come in contact with people who were afflicted they needed to stand down wind and if a leper were coming near they needed to cry out unclean. When Jesus came, he knelt and asked if he is willing, which of course he was… there was no healing of a Jewish leper- from the time of Moses and the completing of the Mosaic law no leper had been healed in Israel. This would include Mariam who was healed of leprosy (Num 12:10-) before the the Mosaic Law was completed and Naaman who was not a Jew (2 Kings 5:1-; Mt.8:2-4; Lk.5:12-16; Mk.1:40-45). The Scripture makes it clear that only God can heal a leper. Jesus healed the lepers.
2) Healing and casting out a dumb demon- This miracle only the messiah could perform. The Pharisees recognized this as a messianic miracle, this is why they asked could this be the son of David. At the time their were exorcisms performed within Judaism. For this to be accomplished the exorcist needed to communicate with the demon and then force him to tell them his name (as Jesus did with the demoniac). However in this case where someone was affected by the demon to become dumb this exorcism could not take place because there could be no communication made. According to the Rabbis only the messiah could cast out a demon like this.
3) the healing of a blind man Jn.9:1-32 Jesus broke the tradition of the elders (Mishnaic law) which prohibited the healing of the blind by his putting mud and water in the blind mans eyes which was to the Pharisee's unclean. Only the messiah could heal someone that was blind from birth.
The first messianic miracle the Pharisees investigate Jesus. The 2nd they end up rejecting His claims of Messiahship. The 3rd they reject the individuals who affirm He is the Messiah.
The promises for the Millennial reign of the Messiah. Isa. 35:3-6: “Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert.”
Isa. 43:7-9: ”Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have
created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.” Bring out
the blind people who have eyes, and the deaf who have ears. Let all the
nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled. Who among
them can declare this, and show us former things? Let them bring out
their witnesses, that they may be justified; or let them hear and say,
“It is truth.”
These are all descriptions of what the Messiah (the Lord Jesus) did. Jesus gave sight to that was born blind in several instances, (Matt. 9:27; 12:22; 20:30; Jn. 9:6). By His power the ears of the deaf also were made well with one word. Ephphatha-Be opened (Mark 7:34). Unmistakable proof that he was the Messiah sent from God to Israel.
In fact when Jesus introduced himself as the Messiah in the synagogue in Luke 4:18 it mentions a number of miracles he would do “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.”
Isa. 35:3-6 references [And the tongue of the dumb sing] Shall be able to sing, and to praise God. The dumb also were enabled to speak, The dumb had restored hearing and speech were able to sing for joy and give God praise. (Mt. 9:32-33). [Then shall the lame man leap. This was literally fulfilled as a reaction of joy that accompanied the Messiah’s blessings. Many that were lame had the use of their limbs restored so perfectly that they could not only go, but leap, and with so much joy to them that they could not forbear leaping for joy, as through the apostles also, Acts 3:8 (Acts 14:10).
While John was in jail he said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or
do we look for another?”
Jesus uses the miracles he is doing and the gospel he preaches (Isa.61) to validate who He is to all of Israel.
Matt 15:30-31: “Then great multitudes came to Him, having
with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid
them down at Jesus' feet, and He healed them. So the multitude marveled
when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking,
and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.”
We know what the Messiah would do from the Old Testament. The Rabbis taught about Messiah and what He would do.
Matt. 12:22-23: “Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed and said, "Could this be the Son of David?’
The assumption is, only the king of Israel; their Messiah could accomplish this kind of miracle. They would not react to this unless there was something unique about this miracle. Son of David was a title of the Messiah being king and is used in 3 of the 4 gospels (all except John who emphasizes the son of God- deity).
In this account two blind men know that the son of David can heal their blindness, something no other prophet had done.
Matt 20:30-34 And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, "Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!" Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, "Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!" So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, "What do you want Me to do for you?" They said to Him, "Lord, that our eyes may be opened." So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.
After answering a trick question on marriage and confounding the leaders with his wisdom “He said to them, "How can they say that the Christ is the Son of David?" Now David himself said in the Book of Psalms, 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool." '"Therefore David calls Him 'Lord'; how is He then his Son?" (Luke 20:41-44)
Matt 21:9 “Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' Hosanna in the highest!"
This is why the leaders were angry the people “But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" they were indignant” (Matt 21:15)
In the wilderness, Israel as a nation did not hear from God for over 400 hundred years their thirst was quenched as living waters poured out from the man Jesus to the house of Israel.
It was Moses who spoke of a future prophet that would be similar to himself. Jesus would be the prophet like unto Moses (Deut.18:15). All the miracles are pictures of spiritual truths; such as him being the resurrection, all of us are dead and need a spiritual resurrection first before we can have a physical resurrection.
Heb. 2:4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will. “ It is done by the will and power of the Spirit.
Palm Sunday, they expected Jesus to come and begin to rule. It was a pilgrim feast of the Jews in which they would gather together. This Rabbi they wanted to hear and see was the one who can heal the sick make the blind see and the deaf hear, he can feed thousands and walk on water. save us now they cried , overthrow Rome was the under lying motive. But Jesus refused to allow his message or ministry to be reduced to a show. Today people come in his name doing what he refused to do. So it is not done in the nature of Christ, but only in his name.
In Deut.11:3-4 Moses recalls that Pharaoh went after them after he released them from Egypt and finally was dealt with. There were times when there were numerous signs and wonders and other times when there were not. Israel’s wilderness journey was no different. There were times when they were in one place their were none, yet God provided the manna everyday. We are to look to God's daily bread for us, not the miracles. Jesus is the word become flesh, he was the true manna in the wilderness and we have it for us fully today. To be predisposed to productions of power is to be like Israel in the wilderness and all except two died in the wilderness in unbelief. As Jesus said to Thomas “you believe because you have seen, Blessed are they that have not seen that believe.”
Today we have the word of God to believe by. We see by the eyes of faith and can be fully confident that He who said He will come back for us will do so just as He said.
(the 3 identifying messianic miracles is based on the teaching of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum of Ariel ministries)