For all that believers do, they do because they find faith in Jesus to be life changing. Those who listen to Jesus find that Jesus’s miracles are reasonable to believe. Those who listen to Jesus believe because of His miracles especially the witnesses of Jesus’s resurrection. Apart from the sincerity of Christians, are people reasonable to believe that Jesus did miracles?
Jesus’s Miracles Are Essential to Faith
Jesus’s miracles are essential to His ministry and to the believer’s faith. In the Gospel of John, the writer expressed that he recorded Jesus’s miracles for the reader to believe that Jesus is the Christ, and so the reader can have eternal life (John 20:30–31). In the Gospel of John, the evangelist depicted Jesus showing that God sent Him by the wonderful works that Jesus did. In John 5, Jesus declared, “For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me” (5:36b). In John 10, Jesus revealed that His works testify of who He is (John 10:25). Because of these works, Jesus declared that those who do not believe in Him are not His sheep (10:26). Furthermore, Christ proclaimed that He and the Father are one (10:30).
In the Gospels, God’s power worked through Jesus to do miracles. The Gospel of Mark presents,
“And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan” (Matt 4:23–25 ESV).
How did Jesus of Nazareth draw crowds? The movement to follow Jesus existed as there were crowds. Why would crowds follow Jesus even into the countryside? Even, critical scholars credit Jesus with “miracles” as psychosomatic healing. However, the Gospels present that Jesus did more than convince people that they were well. The character of Jesus’s miracles attest that He did supernatural miracles.
Miracles and the Ancient Classical World
Jesus’s miracles were unique by the great number of miracles that the Gospels record in contrast to the rest of the Bible and ancient world. Jesus’s miracles were selfless unlike the illusions of the ancient world. In the ancient classical world, people did illusions for pay, influence, and authority unlike Jesus of Nazareth. Ancient people did illusions in ceremonies and rituals also unlike Jesus.
The type of miracles attributed to Christ were unknown in the ancient classical world. Ancient people did not simply believe any superstition. The Greco-Roman world rejected resurrection — the bodily rising alive from death (cf. Acts 17:32). However, the resurrection of the dead was essential to the Jewish faith. The miracles attributed to Jesus were Jewish in nature and not pagan. Jesus’s miracles stood apart from all others.
Evidence of Jesus’s Greatest Miracle
Critical scholars recognize that the first converts sincerely believed their experiences of Jesus risen from the dead. Sources predating the Christian Scriptures include Paul’s creedal tradition and Peter’s sermon at Pentecost attest to how the church started because various witnesses experienced Jesus risen from the dead (Acts 2:14–36; 1 Cor 15:3–8).
Historians recognize that 1 Corinthians 15:3–5 is an ancient creed tracing to the beginning of the church and to experiences of Jesus’s resurrection from the time immediately following Jesus’s death on the cross. Early Christians recorded those who believed that Jesus bodily rose from the dead and experienced touching Jesus’s scars and ate with him after Jesus rose (Luke 23:36–43; John 20:19–29; 21:4–14).
Historians recognize that a persecutor of the church, Saul of Tarsus, experienced an appearance of Jesus resurrected and he converted to the faith (1 Cor 15:3–8). Likewise, historians admit that Jesus’s brothers disbelieved, and they came to believe and became preachers by experiencing Jesus’s resurrection (1 Cor 9:5; Gal 1:18–19). Jesus’s resurrection has the greatest explanative power to account for all of these facts.
Evidences of Jesus’s Miracles
The best explanation for the following historical points is that Jesus did miracles:
- Preexisting scriptures describe the messianic age as a time of miraculous healings (Isa 35:5–6; 42:6–7).
- The Gospels exist as eyewitness accounts of those who experienced Jesus’s miracles (Luke 1:1–3; John 20:30–31).
- The accounts of Jesus’s miracles were selfless in nature, more numerous, and unique unlike anything else in the ancient classical world (Matt 4:23–25).
- Jesus often defended His working of miraculous signs from opponents (Mark 9:14–29; cf. Matt 12:11–12; Luke 8:43–48; 10:13).
- Jesus’s opponents did not challenge that Jesus did miracles but they did challenge the source of that power (Mark 3:22).
- As the gospel message spread, the apostles pleaded with people by Jesus’s miracles because the people were witnesses or knew the reports that Jesus did miracles (Acts 2:22; 3:16; 10:36–39).
- Various people experienced Jesus risen from the dead and that started the church (1 Cor 15:1–11).
For everything they do, believers find that faith in Jesus changes lives with the hope of eternal life. Those who listen to Jesus find that Jesus’s miracles are reasonable to believe. For unbelievers, the various eyewitness experiences of Jesus’s miracles are peculiar phenomena in history for which they cannot explain.
Many critical historians exclude the probability of miracles and God’s existence. They assert that miracles are not probable and that natural explanations should receive preference. The weakness of this point is that God’s existence as the Creator of the universe would require the miracle of the creation of the universe. If God exists, then miracles exist. The uniformity of the universe and the existence of life are miraculous effects to the believer and unexplained phenomena for unbelievers. Unbelievers assert the possibility that the order of the universe could have arisen by time and chance, and that non-living material formed complex systems of life. To the believer, this appears absurd. God must act miraculously to create the universe and life.
Many people would not believe a miracle even if each person experienced the event for oneself. As Jesus depicted the rich man speaking with Abraham,
“And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” (Luke 16:30–31; cf. John 8:42–47).
Believers love and follow Jesus with all their mind and affections, and they find Jesus’s miracles to be compelling and life-changing evidence. Lives change in apparent ways when believers come to Jesus trusting Him for eternal life, turning from their sins, and rising from baptism into newness of life (Rom 6:3–5; Col 2:12–13). If anyone wants to experience that change into a new life, they can believe and follow the faith that Jesus is the Christ.