What is a Miracle?
Many definitions are given, but a true miracle is something beyond man's intellectual or scientific ability to accomplish. It is more than a highly improbable event; it injects a new element (the supernatural) into the natural order of things.
Four Greek words are used in the gospels to characterize our Lord's miracles. (1) Dunamis emphasizes that the mighty power of God has entered our world as displayed in Christ's miracles (Matthew 11:21; Mark 6:2,5, 14; 9:39). (2) Teras means "wonder" and underscores the extraordinary character of the Lord's miracles. It is always used with some other word (such as "signs and wonders") so that we will not think of the miracles simply as dazzling demonstrations (Mark 13:22; John 4:48). (3) Ergon means "works" and is used both for Christ's miracles and His ordinary deeds of mercy (John 5:20,36; 7:3; 10:25). (4) Semeion means "sign" and indicates that Christ's miracles were to teach us spiritual truths (John 2:11; 4:54; 6:2; 11:47).
The Purpose of the Miracles
The main purpose of the miracles was to teach—to reveal something about who Christ is and what He can do. Christ used miracles to demonstrate His deity (Mark 2:7), to support His claims to being the Messiah (Matthew 9:27), and to serve as illustrations of deeper spiritual truths (see John 6:32-35). But the miracles also remind us of the consequences of sin—sickness, blindness, death—and of the power of the Lord to do something about those consequences.
In His miracles we see Him as Lord over nature, Lord over life, Lord over death, Lord over sickness, Lord over sin, and Lord over Satan. The miracles are clear and eloquent evidence that Jesus of Nazareth possessed powers that belong only to God and therefore that He is God Himself.
The Greatest Miracle
The three resurrections from the dead (the widow of Nain's son, Jairus's daughter, and Lazarus), portray our Lord as "the resurrection, and the life" (John 11:25). While those three returned to this life to die again, they preview the new kind of underlying life to which all believers will be raised by the Lord. And, of course, His greatest miracle—His own resurrection from the dead—seals that guarantee.
Because the tomb is empty, our Lord lives, and He lives in the lives of His children (Galatians 2:20). What does that mean for us in this day? It does not mean exemption from trials or sickness or attacks, but it assures us that the grace of our living Lord is sufficient in all circumstances (2 Corinthians 12:9). It does not necessarily mean He will give the same signs and perform the same wonders He did while He was here on earth, nor that we will perform them, but it does mean we can rely on His power to accomplish all His desires in our lives and in this world.
This is the Lord who saves all who put their trust in Him. This is the Lord who cares for His own through every circumstance of life. This is the Lord whom we love and serve forever!
—Condensed from The Miracles of our Lord by Charles C. Ryrie. Copyright (c) 2005 ECS Ministries.