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.


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 (134)

134 thoughts on "Why Did Jesus Perform Miracles?"

  1. ed sheeran one says:

    I come up reference an olive offshoot in solitary around, and the freedom fighters gun in the other. Do not detonate the olive limb become lower from my hand.

  2. Nancy says:

    Jesus’ message to John leaves out the part in Isa. about releasing captives/freeing prisoners, so He was giving John a clear answer – ‘No, you will not be released…’ God’s will is often a mystery to me, as I spend time exercising my faith with expectations, asking for healing, release, miracles–& sometimes apparent receive answers that shake me to the core. I imagine God balancing the options on a scale of His great wisdom, discerning what will produce the greater impact for His kingdom purposes & eternity – & that greater weight often involves an answer of ‘No, not this time.’ Do I trust Him still – truly trust Him, rather than the gifts from His hand that I often seek? I think this is the essence of true faith & relationship with the one & only Almighty God.

  3. Atalie Jones says:

    Lord, blessed are those who believe without seeing. I know in my heart of hearts that You are alive. You are with me. Your are all-mighty, all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving. The enemy tries to (and sometimes does) convince me that I am unforgivable. My sins are too great, but, Father, when I give into those lies I am doubting and saying that You are not great enough, powerful enough, or big enough to save me. That is a complete and total lie. Remind me of this every single day. Show me Your will for my life. Break me till I am obedient to You and You alone. I desire for less of me and more of You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

  4. I see that a few times Jesus tells us about hope, about how he is the bringer of peace ect but for those around him things still get worse… he saves them from storms and evil and harm but still his disciples went on to be killed.

    I always have to remind myself God uses me in a bigger picture, a story I know nothing about.

    God uses our pain, sadness ect for His glory – if I remember that when I’m down and out perhaps I wouldn’t feel so sorry for myself.

  5. Kristen says:

    So encouraged by Jesus’ wonderful nature! Wow what a Savior!

  6. Natalie says:

    So moved and enlightened by this study and it’s only day 2!

    1. Wonuola Talabi says:

      This is exactly how I feel!

  7. Mel says:

    I wish I believed God is indifferent, but that’s a hard thought to combat when there seems to be this distance. Idk the whole reason I’m doing this study is because I’m struggling spiritually, and I just wish I would be restored, but I’m not yet, and I can’t help but ask why?

    1. Ann says:

      Sending prayers your way Mel. Try not to think, but feel. It helps me to look into a sunset or beautiful sky and that’s when I feel Him most. I simply just say “Thank you” and my spirit is at ease again. I pray for a peaceful mind and that you feel His love in your heart.

    2. Brooke says:

      Sweet friend, I’ve been there. Little did I know, He never leaves our side. Scripture says, “when you look for me you will find me.” We have to open our hearts, and sometimes surrender our pride and let go of our circumstances with all guards down to find his perfect peace! We don’t have to wait until eternity, or tomorrow, we have it within us! So call out to Him! He is waiting for you! He loves you immeasurably! And don’t let the fact that you’re struggling get you down! The whole reason he came was because he knew we wouldn’t be perfect, so through his perfect some we are redeemed! Our God is not legalistic, you don’t have to do an endless amount of chores, HE LOVES YOU regardless!

  8. Jeralyn says:

    I loved the thought that Jesus joined us here on earth in the “longing for the day when the need for miracles will be no more.”

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