What were the miracles of Jesus?
Question: "What were the miracles of Jesus? What miracles did Jesus perform?"
Answer: A miracle of God is an extraordinary or unnatural event that reveals or confirms a specific message through a mighty work. Jesus performed plenty of miracles. All the miracles He did were to glorify God, help others, and prove that He was indeed who He said He was—the Son of God. When He calmed the storm in Matthew 8, for example, the disciples were astonished and they asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (verse 27).
The gospels record many of the miracles that Jesus performed. Of course, many of the things that Jesus did cannot have been recorded in such short works. John freely admits, “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. . . . Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (John 20:21 and 21:25).
Different gospels often record the same miracles, with each one giving slightly different details. Sometimes, it is impossible to know if a particular miracle recorded in the gospels is simply one miracle recorded from different angles or if two separate miracles are being recorded. None of the gospel writers are particularly concerned with strict chronology or the types of details that modern reporters would be interested in.
The miracles Jesus performed and listed below have been grouped into broad categories with accompanying references without attempting to determine which miracles are recorded multiple times and which may be unique to each of the gospels:
Miracles of Healing
• Lepers cleansed: Matthew 8:1–4; Mark 1:41–45; Luke 5:12–14; 17:11–19
• Blind receive sight: Matthew 9:27–31; Mark 8:22–26; 10:46–52 Luke 18:35–43 John 9:1–38
• People are healed from a distance: Matthew 8:5–13; Luke 7:2–10; John 4:46–54
• Peter’s mother-in-law healed: Matthew 8:5–13; Mark 1:29–31
• Paralyzed man healed: Matthew 9:1–8; Mark 2:1–12; Luke 5:17–26
• People touching Jesus’ clothing are healed: Matthew 9:20–23; 14:35–36; Mark 5:25–34; 6:53–56; Luke 8:43–48
• Various healings on the Sabbath: Mark 3:1–6; Luke 6:6–1; 13:10–17; 14:1–6; John 5:1–18
• Deaf and mute man healed: Luke 7:31–37
• Cut-off hear is repaired: Luke 22:47–53
• Demons cast out (and specific physical ailments accompanying the demons healed): Matthew 9:32–33; 17:14–18; Mark 9:14–29; Luke 9:37–42
• Demons cast out (no specific physical ailments mentioned): Matthew 8:28–34; 15:21–28; Mark 1:23–27; 5:1–20; 7:24–30; Luke 4:31–37; 8:26–39
• Multitudes healed: Matthew 9:35; John 7:18–23
• The dead raised to life: Matthew 9:18–26; 15:29–31; Mark 1:32–34; 3:9–12; 5:21–43; Luke 6:17–19; 8:40–56; John 7:11–17; 11:1–45
• Multitudes fed (food multiplies): Matthew 14:13–21; 15:32–39; Mark 6:33–44; 8:1–10; Luke 9:12–17; John 6:1–14
• Walks on water: Matthew 14:22–33 (Peter too); Mark 6:45–52; John 6:15–21
• Calms a storm: Matthew 8:22–25; Mark 4:35–41; Luke 8:22–25
• Fills nets with fish: Luke 58:1–11; John 21:1–14
• Peter catches fish with money in its mouth (for the temple tax): Matthew 17:24–27
• Turns water to wine: John 2:1–11
• Cursed tree withers: Matthew 21:18–22; Mark 11:12–25
From the list above, we see that the vast majority of miracles recorded in the gospels were miracles of healing. While those who received the healing were relieved of their physical ailments, the stated purpose of the miracles is rarely ever the simple alleviation of physical suffering. The miracle of healing always points to a greater truth, namely, that Jesus is the Son of God with authority. When He casts out demons, His authority over them is emphasized. When He heals on the Sabbath, His authority as Lord of the Sabbath is emphasized. Likewise, many of the miracles emphasize Jesus’ authority over nature.
There is no better way to study the miracles of Jesus than to read through the gospels and make a list of each miracle and the explanation that is provided. (For instance, in John 2 we read of Jesus turning water into wine. That miracle did alleviate a potential embarrassment for the host and it did appease His mother who asked Him to get involved, but the primary result is recorded in verse 11: “What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.”) Sometimes the purpose of a miracle is given directly, and sometimes it is recorded in the response of those who saw it. Jesus never performed miracles for the sake of putting on a show. Every miracle pointed to a greater truth. John especially emphasized this point by referring to Jesus’ miracles as “signs.”
The feeding of the 5,000 is just one example. John 6 begins by saying that people were following Jesus because they saw the signs. One would think this is a good thing. Jesus goes on to feed the multitude, over 5,000 men, with just five loaves and two fish. Then, He slipped away in the night.
The next morning, the people went looking for Him. Jesus, however, is not impressed and confronts their selfish motives for seeking Him: “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill” (John 6:26). There is some irony here. They were seeking Jesus because they had a free meal as the result of a miracle. No doubt they thought that this was a pretty good arrangement. If Jesus would continue to feed them, all would be well. Jesus, however, says that they did not truly see the “sign.” They saw the miracle, yet they could not see past the loaves and fish. The “sign” Jesus performed signifies something greater. Although the multitudes saw and partook of the miracle, they missed the sign that was to point them to Jesus, the Bread of Life. Throughout the ministry of Jesus, many people saw His miracles as ends in themselves rather than pointing to something greater.
Recommended Resource: God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of Christ by Stephen Wellum
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