“Jesus the Messiah”: Preschool & Kids Leader Training for Unit 21, Session 1—Jesus’ Early Miracles
Has anyone ever asked you if you were hungry? Chances are, they asked not purely because they cared about your well-being, but because they were hungry too. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course—it’s not like we should take offense to such a question—but the point is that motivations can be more complicated than meets the eye.
That’s important to remember as we look at Jesus’ miracles. There is not one simple reason why Jesus performed miracles, rather, it is a combination of two critical reasons, each of which we need to understand to appreciate what Jesus did.
Jesus’ Miracles Show Us His Love
As we think of the miracles that Jesus performed, it becomes apparent that He did many of them because He cared for people. We cannot miss this. Jesus was not utilitarian, merely looking at people as object lessons. Jesus loved the people He encountered in the Gospels as He loves us today.
When people were hungry, He wanted to feed them.
When people were hurting, He wanted to heal them.
When people were ostracized, He wanted to comfort them. (I suspect this is why Jesus often touched lepers to heal them; He did not need to touch them, but physical touch was something they had not experienced for a long time.)
Love motivated Jesus, but we need to be careful not to reduce His reasons for performing miracles to just this one. If we do so, we are in danger of holding a human-centered theology, one that puts us a the center of it all and sees us as most important. Jesus, in this flawed theology, cares more about us than anything else—which would include the Father and the Father’s glory. That takes us to the second critical reason Jesus performed miracles.
Jesus’ Miracles Show Us His Identity
The miracles Jesus performed revealed His identity to those watching, and by extension, we who read of them.
Jesus showed His power over nature.
Jesus showed His power to heal.
Jesus showed His power to bring life from death.
In all of His miracles, Jesus showed that He was not a mere man, but rather the Son of Man—the promised Messiah who had come to earth. Jesus’ miracles show that He can do what normal people cannot do. He is special. He is divine. And that takes us to Jesus’ greatest miracle—His resurrection.
Jesus’ Greatest Miracle Shows Us His Victory
In Jesus’ death and resurrection, we discover both of these motivations wrapped up together. Jesus gave up His life on the cross because He loves us and He wanted to bring glory to the Father. He was the perfect sacrifice that none of us could be. Then, in the resurrection, the Father’s acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice and God’s power to give life were on display. The empty tomb, therefore, boasts of Jesus’ identity, love, and His ultimate victory over sin and death.
The life of a believer is a series of miracles wrought by ‘the mighty God.’ He is mighty to keep His people holy after He has made them so, and to preserve them until He brings to completion their spiritual existence in heaven.” — Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning by Morning (Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos, 2000), January 14.