Day 2

Why Did Jesus Perform Miracles?

from the The Miracles of Jesus reading plan


Matthew 11:2-5, Isaiah 61:1-3, John 2:11, Matthew 12:28-42

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: Matthew 11:2-5, Isaiah 61:1-3, John 2:11, Matthew 12:28-42

Most of us have been there. It’s not just painful, but confusingly painful.

Didn’t God hear?
Doesn’t He love me?
Did I not have enough faith?
Why wasn’t it a yes?

These are the questions we ask when the miracle doesn’t come.

Perhaps it was the cancer that wasn’t cured, the chronic illness that never healed, the marriage that couldn’t be saved, or the money that didn’t come through. In the absence of a miracle, these stories about Jesus can be tough to swallow. They can even feel cruel. Why are they here, if not to tease us?

God knows we feel this tension, which is perhaps why He included Matthew 11:2-5 in His perfect Word. Here, John the Baptist asks Jesus if He is, in fact, the “one who is to come”—the Messiah. Jesus answers with a clear allusion to Isaiah 61: “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up” (Matthew 11:4-5). He’s essentially saying, “Yes. All the things that were foretold, I am fulfilling them.”

Jesus’ answer to John tells us a lot about the purpose of His miracles: They are a sign of the prophecies fulfilled, a sign that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah. They are a sign of His authority, His power, and His glory. And they are a sign of God’s love for us, a sign that we can trust Him.

But here’s what we shouldn’t miss about Jesus’ answer, because John certainly wouldn’t have. Isaiah 61 also says this of the coming Messiah: He will “proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (v.1). It’s a message of hope for prisoners, which is exactly what John was; John received Jesus’ message while sitting in a prison cell. And yet, John the Baptist was never set free. Three chapters later, he’s beheaded. Scripture tells us that when Jesus got word of John the Baptist’s death, “he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself” (Matthew 14:13).

Our God is not indifferent to our pain.

Matthew 11:2-5 contains all the power and the glory and the complexity and confusion of Jesus’ miracles. It attests to Jesus’ divine identity, but it also attests to the reality that miracles don’t always come. In this tension, we learn more about what Jesus’ miracles mean.

Jesus’ miracles weren’t only about Him, but about the Kingdom to come. Tucked into every miracle we can almost hear God whisper, “This is what the Kingdom is like. It’s complete healing, total wholeness, freedom, awe, and joy.” Miracles provide a foretaste of this in-breaking Kingdom, but they were never meant to replace it.

We’ll never have the perfect peace and restoration we desire this side of eternity, but miracles point to the place where we will.

Whenever we read stories of miracles, and grapple with their surpassing mystery, we can do so knowing our God is not casual or removed from our pain. Jesus’ very presence on earth reminds us that He entered into it, experiencing the pain along with us. Jesus joined us in waiting for the Kingdom, longing for the day when the need for miracles will be no more.

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Sharon Hodde Miller is a writer, speaker, pastor’s wife, and mom of two boys. She is a regular contributor to Christianity Today and recently completed her Ph.D, which focused on cultivating the gifts of women in the church.

Post Comments (133)

133 thoughts on "Why Did Jesus Perform Miracles?"

  1. Ashley Scroggins says:

    I enjoyed reading today’s scriptures and message! Jesus came and performed the miracles that were predicted that he would do! I believe that God still performs many miracles everyday we just look for the larger ones even though the ones he performs are small and can be indifferent to most!

  2. Jade says:

    i never thought about it that way.

  3. Caroline says:

    Goodness. So powerful. So good. I didn’t see the miracle of Jesus healing my 2 year old nephew from cancer, even though we asked and prayed and believed for it. Yet I still pursue him for a miracle of my own. Even when he says “no” he is still good.

    Lord, help me trust you. Help me to know that you are the author of miracles and that your miracles are an opportunity to show YOUR glory.

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  4. Jennifer Vance says:

    Posting one more time because of its beautiful relevance:
    My favorite C.S. Lewis quote:
    “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

    1. Ashley says:

      What book is this? ◡̈

      1. Jennifer Vance says:

        The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis

    2. Veronica says:

      Love this quote. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Keri McCue says:

    “Jesus’ miracles weren’t only about Him, but about the Kingdom to come.” – I love that when Jesus was here on Earth He was constantly looking forward, constantly pointing those around Him forward. It reminds me that sometimes our minds and hearts get stuck in the here and now. Sometimes we forget to look forward to the day when all the pain and sadness we endure will be worth it. I love this reminder today. May we never forget to look forward to the promise of eternity with our Father!

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  6. Katalina says:

    Miracles may not always come to us because we may not be the ones who need it (even if our circumstances say otherwise). Sometimes the miracle that we were longing for occurred in the perfect moment that saved someone else or changed their life. Walking with Jesus, I realize we ARE the miracle. Aside from the power that God holds and what He’s capable of, we, His people are a part of that miracle. To live in a world that’s so broken where we may have certain moments where we crack and yet, we are not phased because we know this is not our real Home. Our haven, our HOME, is in Heaven. While we’re here on Earth, we are tested time and time again with our anger, our sorrow, our grief, everything…. but one thing that can never break is our Faith. Because even though we may not see the miracle, we know they exist and we are a part of a greater miracle that sometimes we don’t even recognize. Maybe you’re the miracle is someone else’s life because that’s how God works and uses us. He gives us a purpose even when we fight to try and find on ourselves. He is our miracle and we have become a part of it.

    1. Emily B. says:

      This is so lovely. Thank you for sharing your perspective!

    2. Adrienne says:

      May I have permission to use your words in a card I a writing to someone? Thank you for your inspiring thought. Sharing the love of Jesus
      Adrienne

    3. Betsy P. says:

      This is beautiful! “He is our miracle and we have become a part of it”–such a great reminder! Thank you for sharing!

  7. HeatherJoy says:

    Today’s readings held so much newness, encouragement and power. The realization of johns imprisonment blew me away and Jesus’s response and sadness. In the Matthew section where he is listing off all of the miraculous healings, I am just really meditating on his response to poverty: the good news. Not financial gain or a new house. Just the gospel. Because as the passage in Isaiah highlights, all of these things are “that He may be glorified.” So much to think on and pray through today – so thankful for this study already!

  8. Jeanelle Mossburg says:

    Just having come out of Easter weekend I have been thinking of how real Jesus’ pain on the cross was – He experienced more earthly pain than many of us can even comprehend. Lacerations on His back, thorns piercing His head, nails driven all the way through His feet and hands…and with no way at all to alleviate any of the pain. Can you imagine?! But He remained faithful and with Psalm 22 He cried out to God. What an amazing reminder that God DOES understand our pain and He DOES answer our prayers, always. When it is tempting to turn our back on God during hard times we can remember that He suffered the pain for us and is with us wherever we go, His promises always faithful. This is amazing!

    1. Katalina says:

      We have a faithful God, Amen!

    2. She Reads Truth says:

      Thank you for sharing this, Jeanelle! So encouraged by your words this morning. Grateful to have you in the SRT community.

      – Stormye

      1. Lindsey Brecht says:

        Amen!

      2. Lindsey Brecht says:

        Amen, thanks for sharing!

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