SIGNS OF JESUS

Often time, the Jews demanded signs (miracles) from Jesus to convince them that he is the messiah. In most cases, Jesus refused to show such signs because he felt the people ought to be convinced judging from the numerous miracles he performed. The gospel of John records about seven of such signs which helped to convince the Jews that indeed, Jesus was the Son of God. Such miracles had spiritual significance. In the gospel of John, the miracles of Jesus are called ‘signs’.

 

NATURE MIRACLES

The Marriage at Cana-Turning Water to Wine John 2:1-11

As earlier stated, nature miracles are so called because they were performed on natural entities and showed Jesus’ power over natural phenomena. The miracle of turning water into wine at Cana of Galilee was Jesus’ very first miracle.

Jesus was invited to a marriage ceremony in this town and his mother was present as well as his disciples. Suddenly, their wine finished and Mary reported this to Jesus, Jesus replied-“O woman what have you to do with me, my hour has not yet come”. Mary, who knew that Jesus was in the position to do something told the servants of the ceremony to do whatsoever he asked them to do.

Jesus then instructed the servants to fill six stone jars with water and they were filled to the brim. Jesus then told them to draw some out and take it to the steward of the wedding feast. When the steward tasted it, it had turned to wine. The bridegroom was invited and queried why he kept the good wine and brought out the poor wine first. This very first miracle made his disciples believe in him and it manifested his glory.

 

Feeding the Five Thousand -John 6:5-13

The next of the nature miracles as recorded by John was the feeding of the five thousand. Jesus was at the sea of Tiberia and when he lifted up his eyes, he saw a large crowd of people coming towards him. Their purpose was to see more miracles that he would perform.

Seeing the great multitude, Jesus asked Philip where they could procure bread to feed the people, just to know what Philip would say, for he already knew what to do. Expectedly, Philip answered that the crowd was so great that two hundred pennywort of bread will not be enough for each to have just a bite.

However, Andrew informed Jesus that a boy had five loaves and two fishes, which, in any case was insufficient. But having made the people to sit down after giving thanks, Jesus broke the bread and the disciples shared them, likewise the two fishes.

Everyone ate and was satisfied. Thereafter, twelve baskets filled with fragments remained. This sign achieved the aim of making the people believe that Jesus was the messiah. Thereafter, they called him the expected prophet.

 

Walking on the Sea -John 6:16-21

After Jesus had fed the five thousand, the disciples entered into a boat and crossed the Sea of Galilee towards Capernaum. It was dark then and Jesus was not with them. Suddenly, there came a great wind unto the sea .. So when they were about three miles into the sea, they saw Jesus walking on the sea, towards them and they became terrified, thinking it was a ghost. Jesus said to them: “It is I, be not afraid”. Jesus stepped into the boat and at once, the wind ceased. They were happy to see their master in their difficult moment and before long they reached the shore.

 

MIRACLES OF HEALING

Healing the Nobleman’s Son -John 4:46-54

For the first time since after attending the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee, Jesus came into the city again. The people were glad to receive him, having seen all the signs he performed in Jerusalem during the Passover Feast. So they gathered again for more signs.

Here, there was a nobleman from Caparnaum who came all the way from there to beckon on Jesus to come over to Capernaum to heal his sick son. Jesus asked the man why they would prefer to see signs before believing. The man pleaded- “Sir, come down before my child dies”. So Jesus simply asked him to go, that his son had been healed. The man believed Jesus and his son was healed at that very time Jesus said it, as the man’s servant later confirmed. The man and his household believed that Jesus was actually the messiah.

 

Healing the Impotent (Infirmed) -John 5:1-18

At that time, there was a Jewish feast, and Jesus went to Jerusalem. At the Sheep Market or Sheep Gate, there was a pool called Bethzatha in Hebrew language. There used to lie a multitude of some impotent, sick, blind, paralysed men waiting to be healed as soon as the water was stirred by an angel who always stirred the pool at a particular season. Each time the water was stirred, the very first to step into it was healed instantly.

Here lay a certain impotent man who had been impotent (infirmed) for thirty eight years. Jesus had pity on the man perceiving he had been there for a very long time. He healed the man instantly and he took up his bed and began to walk. It was on a Sabbath, so the Jews took offence at the healing and sought to kill Jesus.

The Jewish leaders objected that the man who was cured should carry his bed being a sabbath day. They believed that it was illegal to carry sleeping mat or pallet on the sabbath day. They confronted the healed man and he said the man that cured him instructed him to carry the mat or pallet. The Jews wanted to know the person who healed the man, but unfortunately the man did not know Jesus.

Later, Jesus found the man that was healed in the temple and said to him- “see you are well! sin no more, that nothing worse befall you”. It was at this point that the man realized that it was Jesus that healed him and he went and told the Jews. The Jews were annoyed and queried Jesus for being a sabbath-breaker. Jesus replied them that- “My father is working still, and I am working” The Jewish leaders were all the more eager to kill him, because in addition to disobeying their sabbath laws, he had spoken of God as his Father, thereby making himself equal with God.

 

Healing the Blind -John 9 :1-7

Jesus and his disciples were merely passing by when he met this blind man, who had been blind from birth. So his disciples asked Jesus if it was for the man’s sins that he was born blind or for the sins of his parents. Jesus answered them that he was not blind as a result of sin, but for the work of God to be made manifest.

Declaring himself the light of the world, he spat on the ground, made a clay of the spittle and anointed the blind man’s eyes with the clay and then ordered him to go and wash his eyes at the pool of Siloam. The blind man did this and received his sight.

 

Raising of Lazarus -John 11:1-44

There was a man named Lazarus, from Bethany and he was sick. He was the brother of Mary and Martha and a friend to Jesus. Therefore his sisters sent for Jesus informing him that his friend was sick. Hearing the news Jesus tarried for two more days. However, within this space of time, Lazarus died.

Jesus told his disciples that he was glad that Lazarus was dead and that he died while he (Jesus) was yet to go there, so that the disciples will believe in him as the Son of God (John 11:14-15):

By the time Jesus landed in Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had died four days earlier. When Mary and Martha heard that Jesus had come to Bethany, Martha went to meet him. She told Jesus that if he had been around, her brother would not have died. Jesus told Martha that Lazarus will rise again, but Martha did not understand, she thought that Jesus meant that Lazarus would rise again on the resurrection day.

When Jesus saw Mary and the other Jews weeping bitterly, he himself (Jesus) wept. Jesus was taken to the grave where Lazarus was buried. Jesus ordered the removal of the stones at the entrance of the grave and the stone was taken away. Jesus gave thanks to God and thereafter cried out with a loud voice: “Lazarus come out”. Lazarus rose from the dead and Jesus asked them to remove the bandage from him. Many Jews that were present at the time of the event marvelled and believed in Jesus.

 

Summary/Significance

  1. As earlier stated, most people who followed Jesus about did so just to see him perform signs.
  2. So many believed, having seen these signs, while others, especially, the Jews, were angered by the signs, first, because Jesus performed some of them on the Sabbath day; and secondly, because they were simply jealous and opposed his claim of being the Son of God.
  3. Jesus used these signs as a tool to make people believe in him, having discovered that they were stiff-necked and had hearts of stone.
  4. It is significant to say again that such signs did the trick of making so many Jews to believe, as they showed Jesus’ power as being from God and nowhere else.
  5. Such power and authority over nature, sickness and even death, was definitely from God, hence, many believed.
  6. The feeding of the five thousand portrayed the Lord Jesus as one who cares for both the spiritual and material need of his people.
  7. The ten commandments given to the Jews by Moses was against people working on the sabbath day. The Jews regarded healing as working. Jesus believed that healing is an act of kindness and mercy and should take preference over the observance of the sabbath.
  8. To the Jews, Jesus calling himself the Son of God is blasphemous because they felt he was claiming equality with God.
  9. Jesus used the healing of the blind to teach the fact that suffering is not always as a result of sin. Some are to show forth the glory of God.
  10. By raising Lazarus from death Jesus manifested his power over death. It also revealed that nothing is too late for God.
  11. Jesus’ weeping at the death of Lazarus was to show his humanity.