Raphaello Sanzio (Raphael) of Urbino, Italy - The Miraculous Draught of Fishes (Luke 5:1-11), 1515.


Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb; it was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.
Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him,
"Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days."
Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?"
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
I knew that thou hearest me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by,
that they may believe that thou didst send me."
When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out."
The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth.
Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go."
Gospel of John 11:38-44

Jesus of Nazareth performed many miracles, demonstrating his power over nature and spirits, and thus confirming that the Kingdom of God is at hand (Mark 1:15).

In a physical miracle, such as making the blind see, or walking on water, or calming a storm, the laws of the universe are suspended through divine intervention. In a moral miracle, such as forgiveness of sins or driving out demons, the blessing of Jesus purifies the soul. In Mark 2:1-12, Jesus performed a physical miracle, healing the paralytic, to demonstrate a moral miracle, the forgiveness of sins.

Only three miracles appear in all four Gospels - his own Resurrection (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20), the greatest miracle of them all; the feeding of the 5000 through the multiplication of the loaves, found in Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, and John 6:1-14; and, while different individuals are involved (see chart), Jesus heals the blind (Matthew 9:27-31, Mark 8:22-26, Luke 18:35-43, and John 9).

The miracle stories are an integral part of the Gospel narrative, as in Mark, where nearly half of Mark's account of the public ministry of Jesus (Chapters 1-10) describes miracles. The ministry of Jesus is centered on the establishment of God's imminent Kingdom, which ended the dominion of the evil one over the world, present ever since sin and death entered mankind. The miracles were Jesus' chief weapon in the struggle with evil (Mark 3:22-27), the most direct being the exorcism of demons, which defeated the power of evil and liberated humanity. That is why a miracle is an act of power in the Synoptic Gospels, the Greek word being δύναμις, the origin of our English words dynamic and dynamite. John in his Gospel utilizes the word σημεῖον (sign). The word τέρας (wonder) is found in the Acts of the Apostles.

What is striking is that Jesus performs those miracles that, referring to Isaiah 29:18-19 and 35:3-6, were signs of the Messiah -
מָשֶׁיחַ. John the Baptist sent his disciples to ask Jesus or Yeshua - יֵשׁוּאַ - "Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect another?" Jesus reassures John and his disciples by naming the miracles of the Messiah: "the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news preached to them" (Matthew 11:3-5). Jesus not only heals the leper (Matthew 8:1-4, Luke 5:12-16), but also instructs the leper to show himself to the priest in observance of Leviticus 13-14. Jesus raised three from the dead: the daughter of Jairus the synagogue official (Mark 5:22-24, 35-43), the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17), and Lazarus on the fourth day (John 11).

The symbolic element of the miracle becomes primary in John. For example, in John 9, the interest in giving sight to the man born blind is not just the gift of sight, but in his coming to the spiritual insight of faith, an insight made possible by Jesus, the Light of the world. The Gospel of John enumerates seven signs of Jesus: he turns water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana (2:1-12); the healing of an official's son in Capernaum (4:43-54); the healing of a paralytic on the sabbath by the pool in Bethesda (5:1-47); the feeding of the five thousand (6:1-14); walking on water (6:16-21); the healing of a man born blind (9:1-41); and the raising of Lazarus (11:1-57). John also records three appearances of Christ to his disciples following his Resurrection. The Gospels record twelve miracles in Capernaum, more than anywhere else in the Holy Land.

The third millennium is more receptive to miracles as compared to the skepticism of the post-Enlightenment. Case records of inexplicable cures from cancer, the healings at Tepeyac, Mexico, Lourdes, France, and Fatima, Portugal, and reports of near-death experiences have produced an openness to the miraculous.

While Christ Jesus performed innumerable healings and exorcisms (Matthew 8:16-17, Mark 1:32-34, Luke 6:17-19), the following chart lists specific miracles of Jesus Christ during his public ministry, before his Resurrection:

Healing the possessed man in Capernaum 1:23-28 4:33-37
Healing of Peter's Mother-in-law 8:14-15 1:29-31 4:38-39
Cleansing of a Leper 8:1-4 1:40-45 5:12-16
Turning Water to Wine at Cana 2:1-12
The Miraculous Catch of Fish 5:2-11
Healing of a Paralytic 9:1-8 2:1-12 5:18-26
Cure of the Man with a Withered Hand 12:9-14 3:1-6 6:6-10
Healing of Official's Son in Capernaum 4:43-54
Healing of Centurion's Servant 8:5-13 7:2-10
Raising of Widow's Son at Nain 7:11-17
Calming of the Storm at Sea 8:23-27 4:35-41 8:22-25
Cure of the Gerasene Demoniac 8:28-34 5:1-20 8:26-39
Healing of a Paralytic in Bethesda 5:1-17
Cure of Woman afflicted with Hemorrhage 9:20-22 5:25-34 8:43-48
Raising of Jairus' daughter 9:23-26 5:35-43 8:49-56
Healing Two Blind Men in Nazareth 9:27-31
Healing A Possessed Mute 9:32-34
Feeding the 5000 14:13-21 6:34-44 9:10-17 6:1-14
Walking on Water 14:22-33 6:44-52 6:16-21
Healings at Gennesaret 14:34-36 6:53-56
Cure of Syro-Phoenician's Daughter 15:21-28 7:24-30
Healing of Deaf-Mute 7:31-37
Feeding the 4000 15:32-39 8:1-9
Restores Sight to the Blind Man of Bethsaida 8:22-26
Healing of a Man Born Blind in Jerusalem 9:1-41
Casting Out of a Dumb Demon 17:14-21 9:14-29 9:37-43
Healing a Possessed Crippled Woman 13:11-17
Healing of A Man with Dropsy 14:1-6
Cleansing of Ten Lepers 17:11-19
Healing the Blind at Jericho 20:29-34 10:46-52 18:35-43
Healing of Servant's Ear during Arrest 22:50-51
The Raising of Lazarus 11:1-44


Jean-Baptiste Jouvenet - The Raising of Lazarus, Musee du Louvre, 1706.