Sign Miracles (part 1)


John wrote his gospel so that all who read it would believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God1.  He recorded eight sign miracles to show how Jesus manifested His glory, proving His deity2.  A sign miracle is a distinct word John uses to describe a miracle that has a deeper meaning3.  This paper will describe each of those miracles and how they point to the fact that Jesus was indeed the Son of God.

Water into Wine

The first sign miracle that Jesus performed in His earthly ministry was turning water into wine.  Jesus had just returned to Cana of Galilee from Bethany when He and His disciples were invited to join in the celebrations of a wedding.  Jesus’ mother, who was most likely helping in the kitchen, came to Him with a problem4.  The host had run out of wine.    Jesus questioned why she would involve Him and responded, “My hour has not yet come”5.  Morris explains that this is a forward-looking reference to Jesus’ death on the cross6.  Though Jesus did not verbally offer to help His mother, she knew He would, so she instructed the servants to do whatever He told them to do.  This is the perfect example of how God expects His people to do everything they can to help accomplish His work on earth7.

There were six ceremonial pots which Jesus had the servants fill with water and deliver to the master of the feast.  The master was shocked that the drink they brought him was the finest wine of the event, exclaiming that the bridegroom generally brought the best first and not last.  John writes, “What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which He revealed His glory”.  While this miracle may seem insignificant, it shows the power of Jesus to bring out new beginnings8.  The Jews were under an old covenant, but He was about to bring a new covenant full of mercy and grace.  Jesus used a very creative way to demonstrate His power over creation which helped bring about the development of faith in those who witnessed or heard about Him9.

Healing the Nobleman’s Son

Jesus travelled to Galilee where a high-ranking royal official begged Him to cure his son, who was laying sick at Capernaum.  Jesus knew that He did not need to make a trip to heal the young man in order to heal him10. He simply said to the official, “Go, your son will live”11.  Though most Galileans were fickle in their beliefs, this man showed great faith as he returned to his household12.  While he was still travelling his servant met him with the news that his son had been healed at the exact moment Jesus had spoken.  The entire household then believed that Jesus was the Messiah.

This sign miracle was used to produce faith13. Jesus performed signs for those who had eyes to see them, not for the whole world to see at once14.  This sign miracle was used to show His deity by proving that he had power over all things including space15.  

Healing the Lame Man

Jesus was in Jerusalem for a festival when he saw a man who had been unable to walk for 38 years.  Jesus spoke to him to see if he truly wanted to be healed.  The man made the excuse that no one would help him into the pool, but Jesus commanded him to pick up his mat and walk.  At His words, the man was instantly healed and began to walk.  Jesus gave hope to a disabled man and met a need that no one else could meet16.

This sign miracle proves that Jesus is more powerful than time.  Despite the fact that he had been crippled for many years, the lame man was immediately able to walk when Jesus healed him. He had waited a long time for a miracle and had become discouraged, yet Jesus brought him hope.  While He was a teacher and leader the most important thing John sees about Jesus is that He is One who saves17.  He not only brings salvation but desires that those who believe on Him have life abundantly18.

Feeding the Multitude

Many people started following Jesus because of the signs He had performed when healing the sick.  These crowds came to Him when He was on His way to the Jewish Passover Festival.  Jesus knew that they were spiritually starving so He created a feast that met those needs along with their physical ones19.  Jesus used five small barley loaves, two small fish, and the obedience of a young boy to feed 5,000 people.  They ate until they were satisfied and even had 12 baskets full of leftovers.

This miracle shows that Jesus is able to provide for man’s physical needs in any way necessary20.  He is able to use whatever one is willing to give Him, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem21.  Jesus came from heaven and is the true Son of God so He alone can satisfy the spiritual needs of his followers22.  This sign miracle proves that Jesus has power over all things, including food23.

Read about the next four sign miracles in Part Two.

  1. John 20:31 (New International Version).
  2. Elmer Towns, The Gospel of John: Believe and Live (AMG Publishers, 2002), Introduction.
  3. Leon Morris, Jesus is the Christ, (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Ferdmans Publishing Company, 1989), Chapter 1.
  4. Towns, The Gospel of John, Chapter 3.
  5. John 2:4 (New International Version).
  6. Morris, Jesus is the Christ, Chapter 2.
  7. Towns, The Gospel of John, Chapter 3.
  8. Morris, Jesus is the Christ, Chapter 2.
  9. Towns, The Gospel of John, Chapter 3.
  10. Towns, The Gospel of John, Chapter 5.
  11. John 4:50 (New International Version).
  12. Towns, The Gospel of John, Chapter 5.
  13. Towns, The Gospel of John, Chapter 5.
  14. Morris, Jesus is the Christ, Chapter 1.
  15. Towns, The Gospel of John, Introduction.
  16. Towns, The Gospel of John, Chapter 6.
  17. Morris, Jesus is the Christ, Chapter 4.
  18. John 10:10 (New International Version).
  19. Towns, The Gospel of John, Chapter 7.
  20. Morris, Jesus is the Christ, Chapter 6.
  21. Towns, The Gospel of John, Chapter 7.
  22. Morris, Jesus is the Christ, Chapter 6.
  23. Towns, The Gospel of John, Introduction.
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