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Do you know how Jesus performed His miracles? What can we learn from the Gospel accounts of these exciting and inspiring deeds?
It was clear to the elite doctors of the law in Jerusalem that Jesus was no ordinary child even at age 12. After keeping the Feast of Passover with His family there, Jesus was found talking with the most educated men in Israel, and Luke 2:47 tells us, “And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.”
How is it that this young Jesus was so filled with wisdom and understanding?
Jesus was conceived by His mother, Mary; but Joseph was not His real father. The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary before her pregnancy and explained to her that the Child she would carry would be the result of God’s Holy Spirit coming upon her, not through normal marital relations with her husband (Luke 1:31-35). This is why Jesus called God His Father (Matthew 7:21) and why He is referred to as the only begotten Son of God (1 John 4:9).
The apostle John wrote that Jesus, by the end of His short life, did so many remarkable things that “if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25).
Yet with all His astounding gifts, Jesus personally emphasized that He had no inherent ability to accomplish anything miraculous on His own. He said in John 5:19, “The Son can do nothing of Himself”; and again in verse 30 He said, “I can of Myself do nothing.”
John the Baptist made it clear that Jesus’ power came from an outside source when he observed, “For God does not give [Him] the Spirit by measure” (John 3:34). Imagine what any of us could accomplish if we had, without limit, the power of God through His Holy Spirit!
Jesus continually honored and gave credit to His Father for all that He accomplished. He never stated that He alone could achieve what He did. Our Savior declared in John 14:10, “But the Father who dwells in Me does the works.”
The same truth is confirmed in Acts 2:22, which revealed Jesus of Nazareth as “a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know” (emphasis added throughout). The Father actually did the works by allowing His Spirit to work through His Son (see also Acts 10:38 and Luke 11:20).
Because the Spirit provided by God the Father would soon be available to them, Jesus made the surprising statement to His disciples that they would do even greater works than He did (John 14:12).
Jesus further explained that this would be possible because He was going to His Father and would send this same Holy Spirit to work in the lives of His disciples (John 16:7). Though none of His followers would ever be anywhere near as righteous or virtuous as Jesus or do as many miracles as Jesus, we find later in the New Testament that God worked mightily through them as well.
On at least one occasion it appears some were healed simply by Peter’s shadow falling on them (Acts 5:15)! This was a remarkable testament to the working of God’s Spirit and something that did not happen in precisely the same manner even with the Son of God.
Perhaps the greatest physical miracle possible is that of bringing the dead back to life. Jesus startled everyone when He resurrected Lazarus in John 11. He also raised to life the dead 12-year-old daughter of one of the rulers of the synagogue in Mark 5:35-42.
Jesus Christ Himself, of course, was raised to life again after three days and three nights in the grave. Later the apostle Peter, by the same power of God’s Spirit, raised Dorcas to life in Acts 9:36-41.
So we see how Jesus was able to accomplish what He did. But what does this mean for us? Will any of us ever move mountains or ever have God’s Spirit “without measure”? Will we ever perform similar exploits as the apostles? Maybe, maybe not.
But here is the point: We are promised this same power through repentance and baptism! On the Day of Pentecost the apostle Peter explained what an individual needed to do in order to have the help from God that we all need. In Acts 2:38 Peter said, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
This was the power to which Jesus referred when He spoke to His disciples just before His ascension to heaven. He told them, “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
They were to wait in Jerusalem until one of God’s annual holy days, the Day of Pentecost (or Feast of Weeks, Exodus 34:22) when this Spirit of power would be granted to assist, comfort, strengthen and guide them in spiritual matters.
You and I cannot truly live without receiving this Holy Spirit. Yes, we have, of course, a day-to-day existence where we fuel our body and mind and have a physical, biochemical experience for a finite period of time. But that’s only one aspect of life.
If we want to have an understanding of God’s plan for us individually—if we want to have the help that results in a changed life—then we need the same Spirit that worked in Jesus Christ of Nazareth nearly 2,000 years ago. It is the power of God that gives a person a type of peace of mind, courage, faith and hope that can be found nowhere else.
This power is available and is presently working in the lives of thousands of people, and it will someday perform the greatest miracle of all—changing us from a mere physical creation to a spiritual creation when God grants to us the gift of eternal life!
The miracles of Jesus were truly astounding. Time and again people were astonished by what they witnessed (Mark 2:11-12). Yet physical miracles alone are not what Jesus Himself said was the most important experience in this life. On one occasion His disciples were in awe of the fact that even the demonic spirits would obey them through Christ’s authority. But Jesus said to them, “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).
God provides His Holy Spirit to bring us into a relationship with our spiritual Father and Creator and to make possible eternal life through a resurrection (Romans 8:9). The reason God wants to grant us His Spirit is not to perform startling miracles but to transform our minds (Romans 12:1-2). The real miracle is the change from centering our attention only on the physical things of this material life to the more eternal things of God (Romans 8:6).
What about you? Are the miracles of Jesus just something interesting to read about or does how Jesus was able to perform them have any significance for you? You can have this same Spirit dwelling in you. Information on this website will show you how. We hope this section on “Who Is Jesus?” will be a good start.