Reasons Why I Believe in the Miracles of Jesus – and You Can, Too! (Part One)Evidences
I am convinced that Jesus performed the miracles noted in the Gospels. My reasons, collected from my own study and from other sources, are those that I find most persuasive. Before you read my list, I suggest that you write your own. Then compare yours with mine, and send me your additional reasons in a comment below.
I Believe in the Miracles of Jesus Because …
1. First, I am open to the idea that miracles are possible. I do not reject the idea automatically, in advance, before examining the evidence. When I consider the evidence with an open mind, I find that the evidence is more than enough to persuade me. Some people, however, cannot fairly consider even the possibility that Jesus performed miracles. They have previously decided that there is probably no God and that the supernatural most likely does not exist. With those assumptions made in advance, some close the door before others have a chance to open it.
2. I believe in Jesus’ miracles because of matters documented in history. I do not reason in a circular way by saying, “I believe in miracles because I believe the Bible, and I believe the Bible because I believe Jesus did miracles.” Instead, I see evidences that are matters of history, that are obviously true even apart from a prior belief in the Bible. History records that Jesus lived on this earth and that he was seen as a miracle-worker. The very origin and existence of Christianity, matters of historical fact, cannot be explained (in my opinion) apart from the reality of Jesus’ miracles. Without that, I cannot understand how Christianity ever got off the ground when and where it did, or how it has survived.
3. Jesus’ followers are said to have witnessed these events, and they continued with him for the years of his ministry. They would have certainly abandoned him if they had sensed, much less proven, that these miracles were fake or illusory. They never renounced their commitment to him or recanted their testimony about him. Far to the contrary, they ultimately risked and gave their lives to telling the world that these supernatural wonders had occurred. Even those who reject the Bible as God’s Word cannot deny this fact. It is a matter of history.
If the disciples conspired together to concoct these miracle stories, and foist them on the world … WHY? What would they gain? Why would they have chosen to be beaten, humiliated, imprisoned, and put to death? There is no satisfactory answer.
If the disciples had known deep in their hearts that Jesus’ miracles were faked or invented, they could not possibly have kept that secret to themselves for very long. 4. At least one of them would have squealed or broken under pressure. This is the simple truth about human nature. No one maintains a lie when he faces a tortuous death.
So many people (even beyond the disciples) had witnessed Jesus’ miracles that no one refuted the claims of Peter and the apostles. Peter spoke the following words before thousands, just fifty days after the Sabbath that Jesus’ body was in the tomb.
Ac 2:22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—”
5. Out of that crowd that day, about 3,000 people were baptized, and they were added together in what we know as the church. No one can disprove the fact that the church began in Jerusalem, just a short time after Jesus’ ministry on earth had concluded.
Apart from the reality of Jesus’ miracles, no one can explain to my satisfaction the reaction of this crowd in the very city in which they had witnessed Jesus’ powerful deeds. This too is a matter of history.
No one can deny that the church of Jesus Christ began in Jerusalem, in the first century, within a very short time after he walked the earth. How could Christianity have ever gotten off the ground, in that place and time, if Jesus had never performed the miracles ascribed to him?
6. Even the rulers of Jesus’ day knew about his miracles and sometimes saw the proof of specific miracles.
Mt 14:1 At that time Herod the tetrarch [that is, Herod Antipas] heard the news about Jesus, 2 and said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him [that is, in Jesus].”
Lk 23:8 Now Herod [again, Herod Antipas] was very glad when he saw Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him.
Jn 9:26 So [the Pharisees] said to [the man born blind, who now can see], “What did [Jesus] do to you? How did He open your eyes?”
Jn 11:47 Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. 48 “If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”
Ac 26:25 But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I utter words of sober truth. 26 “For the king [that is, Herod Agrippa II] knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner.”
7. The Four Gospels corroborate each other without being mere copies of each other or some other single source. Without contradicting each other, they record differing details. In Jesus’ healing of the paralytic, for example, Mark 2:1-12 records that a hole was cut in the roof. Matt 9:1-8, describing the same incident, does not mention the roof. Mark 5 and Luke 8 name Jairus as the synagogue ruler whose daughter Jesus raised. Matt 9, narrating the same event, provides no name. The tax collector named Levi in Mark and Luke is named Matthew in Matthew.
8. Jesus’ teachings, as recorded in the Gospels, are the loftiest and most powerful ever delivered. Yet it is impossible to separate his teachings from the miracles attributed to him. Try it sometime! Once the miracles are removed, the teachings cannot stand, because in them Jesus makes frequent mention of his miracles.
As Don Stewart writes, “Miracles were not something that was an afterthought in the ministry of Jesus. They are interlocked with everything that He said or did. Certain teachings of Jesus would be meaningless without the miracle connected to it. For example, the discourse in John’s gospel about Jesus being the bread of life makes no sense whatsoever without the miracle that explains it. Apart from the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, this discourse is unexplainable (John 5,6).”
9. The New Testament documents are reliable in their quantity, quality, and antiquity. As Norman Geisler writes in Miracles and the Modern Mind: A Defense of Biblical Miracles, “There is more documentary evidence for the reliability of the New Testament than for any other book from the ancient world. Some of the great classics from antiquity survive in only a handful of manuscript copies. According to the great Manchester scholar F. F. Bruce, we have about nine or ten good copies of Caesar’s Gallic War, twenty copies of Livy’s Roman History, two copies of Tacitus’s Annals, and eight manuscripts of Thucydides’ History. The most documented secular work from the ancient world is Homer’s Iliad, which survives in some 643 manuscript copies. By contrast, there are now over 5,366 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament.”
10. Jesus’ enemies tried to find alternate explanations for what he did, but they could not deny the events themselves. They admitted, for example, that Jesus did cast out demons. And, after first doubting the healing of the man born blind, they questioned the man’s parents. Then they acknowledged that in fact the man was born blind had received his sight after meeting Jesus.
Mt 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.”
Jn 9:18 The Jews then did not believe it of him, that he had been blind and had received sight, until they called the parents of the very one who had received his sight, 19 and questioned them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?” 20 His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself.” … 26 So they said to him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?”
To be continued …
In the meantime, leave a comment below with your reasons for believing in the miracles of Jesus.