A miracle story is an event where we read of Jesus showing God’s mercy and love for people who have faith by doing things beyond what is normally possible for a human being. The word miracle comes from a Latin word meaning to inspire wonder in witnesses.
“A miracle can be understood as an extraordinary event outsideCEO Ballarat, learning lites, miracles.
the realm of natural law that results from the intervention of God
into human history. Miracles were an integral component of Jesus
ministry with all three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) including
a range of miracles performed at the hand of Jesus. John’s gospel
refers to miraculous events as signs.”
There are many miracles in the Gospels. The Gospel of John calls them ‘signs’. Scripture scholars generally categorise the miracles of Jesus into four groupings:
- Nature miracles (feeding of many, calming storms.)
- Healing miracles (ie. curing of physical ailments and illnesses)
- Restoration miracles (raising the dead & restoring life – ie. Lazarus)
- Exorcisms (casting out of demons and unclean spirits)
The structure is them is usually simple and typical: an issue is disclosed; Jesus acts in response; the cure occurs; the respondent is delighted.
Miracle accounts can challenge a modern sensibility as they push beyond the laws of nature and science. It is easy to become sceptical or to try and explain the miracle away with a poor understanding of science. Exorcisms can prove particularly challenging for contemporary readers of Scripture.
We are wise to remember that for the Gospel writers, the miracle accounts provide evidence of the divinity of Jesus: Jesus was able to do what was not within the realm of science or normality. Indeed, Jesus’ opponents though, never disputed his capacity to work miracles – but rather where they power came from (Matt 12:24).
“But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then(Matt 12:28)
the kingdom of God has come to you.”
We should thus try and avoid reading them as magical acts, but rather as vibrant and real reminders of Jesus mission – his sharing the news of the Reign of God.
|Catching Many Fish in the Sea of Galilee||5:1-11||[cf. 21:1]|
|Stilling a Storm on the Sea of Galilee||4:35-41||8:23-27||8:22-25|
|Feeding Five Thousand People||6:32-44||14:13-21||9:10b-17||6:1-15|
|Walking on Water||6:45-52||14:22-33||6:16-21|
|Feeding Four Thousand People||8:1-10||15:32-39|
|Turning Water into Wine at a Wedding in Cana||2:1-11|
|Healing Simon Peter’s Mother-in-Law||1:29-31||8:14-15||4:38-39|
|Cleansing a Leper||1:40-45||8:1-4||5:12-16|
|Healing a Centurion’s Servant||8:5-13||7:1-10|
|Healing a Paralytic||2:1-12||9:1-8||5:17-26||[cf. 5:1-18]|
|Restoring a Man’s Withered Hand||3:1-6||12:9-14||6:6-11|
|Healing a Woman’s Haemorrhage||5:25-34||9:19-22||8:43-48|
|Restoring Sight to Two Blind Men||9:27-31|
|Healing a Deaf Man||7:31-37|
|Giving Sight to a Blind Man at Bethsaida||8:22-26|
|Restoring a Woman Crippled for Eighteen Years||13:10-17|
|Healing a Man with Dropsy||14:1-6|
|Cleansing Ten Lepers||17:11-19|
|Giving Sight to a Blind Man (or 2 Men) at Jericho||10:46-52||20:29-34||18:35-43||[cf. 9:1-41]|
|Healing a Royal Official’s Son at Cana||4:46-54|
|Raising a Widow’s Son at Nain||7:11-17|
|Raising the Daughter of Jairus||5:21-24, 35-43||9:18-19, |
|Raising Lazarus from the Dead||11:1-44|
(Note: There are no exorcisms in the Gospel of John)