Monday, November 26, 2012

Sign Miracles

When you want to get someones attention, sometimes you have to use some drastic measures. Many people in today’s society might use riots, picketing or even violence. In the days of Jesus Christ, many in the Jewish and Gentile communities were rebellious towards God and were not living the life that they should have been. So Jesus showed Himself to humanity in human form and worked miracles, He was getting their attention while during His Father's work. He wanted to make sure that He was getting the attention of God's people and showing them the work of the Lord. There are 8 “Sign Miracles” that Christ used to get the people's and His disciples attention.

The miracle at the wedding was Jesus' first miracle. The disciples and Jesus were all at a wedding at Cana of Galilee. The miracle took place in the first year and beginning of the ministry of Jesus. The couple had run out of wine and Mary, who must have had a position of authority during the wedding, asked Jesus to do something. Jesus responded with a miracle that was beyond belief. He turned many pots of water into wine. Although, not many saw what Jesus had done, His disciples and servants knew. According to Elmer Towns, “Jesus was setting the stage for His ministry. The God-man demonstrated His desire to be with the multitudes and to eat and drink with normal people.”1 Jesus was setting the example for the rest of His ministry to His disciples.

As stated in John 4:46, “Once more He visited Cana in Galilee, where He had turned water into wine...” (NIV) A couple chapter later, Jesus has more work to do in Cana. In this miracle, a nobleman approaches Jesus with a request, to heal his sick son. The man had enough faith that when Jesus had
said in John 4:50 “Go...and your son will live...” This verse goes on to say that the man took Him at his word and realized that his son had been healed at the exact time Jesus had told him his son will live. Jesus was starting to urge people to believe in Him. Jesus wanted people to not just believe in His works, but to believe in Him. As Leon Morris states “John reports a number of times that people believed Jesus, or did not believe him, or were urged to believe him.”2 Jesus was beginning to want His people to recognize Him and not just His signs.

At this time, Jesus is starting to cause a commotion within the Jewish community. There are those who are starting to question Jesus' power and His words. Jesus is going to attend a Feast (Feast of Booths) in Jerusalem and stops by a pool of water that is supposed to have powers to heal the sick during the time of the feast. He happens by a man that has been sick for a long time and cannot get to the pool by himself. So Jesus says in John 8 “...Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” As soon as Jesus says this the man gets up and walked. The pool was incredibly busy at this time, as it says that the man cannot get to the Pool of Bethesda because people keep pushing in front of him. Jesus wanted those around him to see him perform this miracle. He was about to enter Jerusalem, and people would be talking about what Jesus did. This way they will want to see him and then He can speak to them about His Father's work. He didn't have to do this work at this location, but he chose it for a reason. As Max Lucado puts it “Surely there are more sanitary crowds in Jerusalem. Surely there are more enjoyable activities. After all, this is the Passover feast. It's an exciting time in the holy city.”3 He could have done this miracle anywhere, but He chose this location to show that He will surround Himself with ordinary people.

I often look at this story and laugh at how amazing Christ is. I like to believe that Christ had a sense of humor and I think that it partially shows in John 6:5-6 when Christ asks Phillip where they are going to get enough food to feed the great crowd. Verse 6 shows Christ humor when it says “He asked this only to test him, for He already had in mind what He was going to do.” I can see Jesus laughing to himself saying “Silly man,” and knowing exactly was Phillip was going to say. This sign had the most amount of people in one place, more than any other sign. Also, this is the only sign that appeared in all 4 gospels. Christ was wanting to disciple his followers but also show the crowds that He was doing God's work. Christ was showing Phillip that the Lord will provide, and He wanted His disciples to see what He was doing. His disciples were going to be the ones to build the church with Christ as the keystone, so He wanted to disciple them more than He wanted to show His sign to the crowd. That is why John mentions Phillip in this gospel.

Another sign Christ gives to His disciples is His walking on water. Right after the feeding of the crowd, Christ's disciples went to sea while Jesus went off to pray. While the disciples were at sea, it started to storm and they felt scared. While trying to regain control of there boat, they see a figure walking on water. At first they were frightened, but in John 6:20 Jesus says “But He saith unto them , It is I; be not afraid.” He was walking to them, while the storm was raging. Christ wanted His disciples to see that anything was possible with Him and that He was the Messiah. That is why Christ performed this sign with just His disciples around Him. Jesus wanted them to know He was always there with them and that He would guide them. As puts it “He is always there, right along with us. Jesus was able to overrule the laws of nature.”4

In John 9, Jesus once again performs a sign for his disciples. In John 9:2 his disciples ask Jesus who sinned for the man to be blind. But Jesus had a plan for this man, to not only show many His deity, but to show His disciples and the world that He is the Messiah. Nobody sinned for this man to be blind. It's the same thing with those that are sick today, there may not be any other reason but for Christ to shine through them.

Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead. Jesus was friends with Lazarus, as well as his sisters Mary and Martha. Jesus found out that Lazarus was ill and was dying. But instead of heading straight to him, he waited for a few days to go to Lazarus. He knew what was going to happen, but He wanted to show His disciples what He could do. This sign is to show the deity of the Messiah, that Jesus even has power over death!

Not only did Christ show that He was bigger than death, He showed that He Himself would overcome death. Christ had recently died and His disciples were trying to fish. They had not been catching anything, and they saw Christ, not knowing who it was, and Jesus said to throw your nets on the right side of the boat, and they came out with nets full of fish. The they realized who Jesus was and were amazed. Jesus had conquered death! Christ was showing His majesty by not just showing Himself to His disciples, but one last sign showing that He cared about them.

Christ is Messiah. He is Risen. He is Lord.

1Town, Elmer. The Gospel of John: Believe and Live. (Chattanooga, TN. AMG Publishers. 2002), 20.
2Morris, Leon. Jesus is the Christ: Studies in the Theology of John. (Grand Rapids, MI. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 1989), 172.
3Lucado, Max. The Gospel of John. Nashville, TN. Thomas Nelson. 2007), 36. Signs and Miracles in John. (accessed November 25, 2012.)

No comments: