The following table shows an overview of all thirty five of His miracles (omitting only the resurrection) found in the gospels, each of which meets our criteria. Only one miracle (the feeding of the five thousand) is described in every gospel. About half of the miracles are recorded in two or more of the gospels. As expected, quite a few, eleven in fact, are shared between all the synoptic gospels, but only seven are recorded in only two of the three synoptic accounts. Two miracles in John also appear in one or more of the synoptic gospels. Matthew has three unique miracles, Mark has two, while Luke and John each record six.
Table 19- 1 : The Miracles of Jesus, Pictures of Divine Powers
This distribution once more demonstrates Matthew, Mark, and Luke are personal testimonies. Even Mark, the gospel “copied” by Matthew and Luke, has two miracles not mentioned in the other two. Why are they omitted if Matthew and Luke leaned on Mark as their primary source as the synoptic theory claims?
As miracles are evidence of Jesus deity, it is useful to categorize them into:
The healing miracles are easy targets for critics. Many simply insist that the healed person was not ill, the person might be “self-healed” (the “power of positive thinking”) or there might even have been a type of hypnosis or other “magic.” Obviously our ancestors did not have our knowledge of science, but they were not stupid either! Even a first century uneducated Jew could distinguish between a magician’s trick and a genuine miracle. They would have identified a fake healing. The healed people were not selected from the audience willingly participating in a performance. These were locals, known by the community for their handicaps, perhaps long-term blindness or injury. Resurrecting someone moments after his death would suggest he had not actually died. Lazarus, however, was in the grave four days (John 11:39: “‘But, Lord,’ said Martha, the sister of the dead man, ‘by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.’”), so one can hardly argue that “he was not really dead.”
Still, from an evidence perspective, the most awesome confirmations of Jesus’ deity are the nature miracles. There is just no explanation for walking on water, calming a storm, feeding huge crowds from a single lunch box, or turning water into wine. Such events are real miracles and they show Jesus’ divine power. Keep in mind that such miracles have never been claimed by other professed miracle workers. Only Jesus has displayed such power. Look closely at the nature miracles and probe them for the characteristics for a genuine miracle. We learn:
· Significance: There is no doubt the nature miracles are significant. It is unlikely that anyone present was not awed! This is clear from people’s reactions, such as when Jesus climbed into the boat after walking on the water: “Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God’” (Matthew 14:33). After Jesus calmed the storm: “In fear and amazement they asked one another, ‘Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him’” (Luke 8:25).
· Immediate: All of Jesus’ miracles had immediate results. Both healings and nature miracles were instantaneous.
· Defy the laws of nature: This cannot be disputed, for this is the exact definition of a miracle.
· Multiple witnesses: As a last resort, non-believing critics try to refute Jesus’ nature miracles by dismissing them as myths or legends. However, the evidence is overwhelming. First, the miracles were done in groups of varying sizes, either the disciples (one can argue they are not objective) or a crowd of several thousands. Second, five of the nature miracles are recorded in multiple gospels, one even in all four gospels. Third, Jesus’ opponents never denied or even disputed his miracles. They admitted Jesus performed miracles and tried to claim Jesus had teamed with the devil: “But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, ‘It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons’” (Matthew 12:24). Or they tried to destroy the evidence: “So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him” (John 12:10-11).
Read on about: (3) Feeding of the 5000
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