With the popularity of the “social gospel” that exists today, it’s often assumed that Jesus performed miracles purely as an act of compassion. Of course, He was compassionate! But is that Jesus performed miracles when on earth?

how Scripture answers "Why did Jesus perform miracles?"

Miracles (or “signs and wonders”) were directed by God1,4 and performed through the power of the Holy Spirit3,4 for the express purpose of confirming the gospel message1,2,3,4,5,6,10. Specifically, the miracles confirmed that Jesus was who he said he was (the Son of God)1,5,7,8,10 and that those carrying forward His gospel message were likewise speaking God’s word (“confirmed”)2,3,4,7 — in effect, they were prophets of God. Interestingly, we see the exact same reasons for God imparting Moses with the ability to perform miracles throughout the exodus story9 – which stands to reason since God doesn’t change.

the answer above is based on and footnoted with the following Scripture Blocks

Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—

All Israel, here what we say: You know that Jesus of Nazareth was a man proven to be from God through the miracles he performed in your midst by the power of God.

Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost.

How does it inform?

Peter makes it clear why Jesus performed miracles. It was to certify or prove that He was from God, the son of God.

Does it apply? Yes

And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.

The disciples went out and preached while performing miracles through the Holy Spirit (“the Lord”) in order to confirm their message.

The closing statement of the gospel of Mark following a summary of final events after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension into Heaven (and why “the Lord” here would have to be the Holy Spirit).

How does it inform?

Miracles were performed by the apostles through the Holy Spirit in order to confirm the word they spoke as from God.

Does it apply? Yes

For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ;

Paul is confirming his effort to preach Christ to the Gentiles in order that they might obey. He used his words and actions supported by signs and wonders from the Holy Spirit. He accomplished preaching the gospel of Christ throughout the region.

Paul has made the case that the gospel is for all – Jew and Gentile – and that all are in Christ through the obedience of faith.  Paul referred to himself as the “apostle to the Gentiles” in the previous chapter.

How does it inform?

Paul’s preaching of the word to the Gentiles was accompanied by miracles and the power of the Holy Spirit in order to bring about obedience.

Does it apply? Yes


For if the message spoken through angels proved to be so firm that every violation or disobedience received its just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was first communicated through the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard him, while God confirmed their witness with signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

The message spoken through angels was “firm” (rigid).  However, an “escape” is provided with the “great salvation” (new message/covenant) which was spoke first by Jesus and then those who heard him (apostles).  Their preaching (“witness”) was confirmed by God with miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit.  These signs and gifts were distributed by God’s authority.

The Hebrews letter is all about holding firm to the gospel message and showing why it was better than what the Jewish Christian had left behind (the Mosaic law).  In the opening of this letter, the writer is reminding of Jesus’ superiority over the angels (chapter 1).

How does it inform?

Reiterates the progression of the gospel message beginning with Jesus, those that initially heard Him and believed (the apostles), and those that carried it forward (early disciples). The confirming role of miracles (and “gifts of the Holy Spirit”) is also reiterated and notably stated in the past tense.

Does it apply? Yes


Now a certain man, a Pharisee named Nicodemus, who was a member of the Jewish ruling council, came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs that you do unless God is with him.”

Nicodemus came to Jesus in the night and stated that the Pharisees and Jewish ruling council, of which he was a member, knew that He was from God because of the miracles He performed.

The early days of Jesus’ public ministry.

How does it inform?

Nicodemus testifies that the purpose of miracles was to confirm that Jesus (and His message) were from God.

Does it apply? Yes


And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.

Jesus went all over Galilee teaching in their synagogues about the gospel of the kingdom while healing them of all kinds of disease and affliction.

Jesus’ public ministry begins.

How does it inform?

Jesus is “healing every disease” within the context of preaching the “gospel of the kingdom.”

Does it apply? Yes

But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.
The words I speak are greater than those of John [the Baptist].  For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish I am doing and they testify to the fact that the Father sent me.

Jesus is in Jerusalem and healing on the Sabbath day and stating that He was the son of God. “This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” (vs 18)

How does it inform?

Jesus states that the works (miracles) He is doing testify (prove) who He is and that He is from God.

Does it apply? Yes


Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, Your sins are forgiven, or to say, Rise, take up your bed and walk? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins—he said to the paralytic— I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.

What is easier to say to the paralytic – your sins are forgiven or rise and walk?  In order that you know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, I have healed him by saying rise and walk.

Jesus has a crowd and just healed a paralytic and told him his sins are forgiven after witnessing his great faith.  This caused some to accuse him of blasphemy, acknowledging that only God can forgive sins.

How does it inform?

Jesus asks a rhetorical question and explicitly states that His healing of the paralytic was in order to prove the authority He had from God the Father.

Does it apply? Yes

But the Lord said to Moses, Put out your hand and catch it by the tail—so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand— that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.
God said to Moses, “Put out your hand and pick it [serpent] up by the tail.”  So he did, and it returned to a staff.  “Do this that they may believe that the God of their fathers has appeared to you.”

God is commissioning Moses to petition Pharaoh for the peoples’ release from Egypt.  Moses has two main objections.  First, he’s not a good speaker (so God gives Moses Aaron as his spokesman, or his “prophet”).  Second, he believes he lacks the authority to be convincing (so God gives him specific signs and performs the ten plagues).

How does it inform?

Miracles were explicitly used by God through Moses and Aaron to confirm their God-given authority to the people (and Pharaoh).

Does it apply? Yes

And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
Many more believed because of His word.  They said to the woman that they no longer believed because of what she said but because of His word and they knew He was the Savior of the world.

Jesus teaches the woman at the well, a Samaritan.  She went to town and told many of His miracle to her – knowing all that she ever did (vs 39).

How does it inform?

The people originally took notice because of the miracle Jesus did with the woman, but it only served to confirm His word – which they ultimately believed.

Does it apply? Yes

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