In the last two verses of John chapter 20, it is written, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” What lessons can be learn about Jesus’ miracles from these familiar words?
Jesus did signs. In the Bible, the word “sign” is often used interchangeably with the word “miracle.” A miracle was a sign, and a sign was a miracle. After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, some correctly referred to it as a “miracle” (John 11:47). Nicodemus, though he was not an open follower of Jesus at the time, admitted that Jesus did “miracles” (John 3:2). In one instance, John wrote about Jesus doing “miracles” (John 2:23), but he also called them “signs,” as we read in our text (John 20:30). The Greek word from which we get the word “miracle” literally meant power, while “sign” pointed to the fact that the power was a demonstration – a demonstration to get people’s attention.
Jesus did real signs. Folks, that is a historical fact that no scoffer or atheistic university professor can change. Jesus’ signs were not make believe. They were not fake. They were not some form of deception by which Jesus’ hand was quicker than the eye of the beholder. They were not legends or fables. They were genuine demonstrations of divine power. His signs bore witness of Him, showing that the Father sent Him (John 5:36). Thank God that He gave us a record of them in His book! We still marvel at the miracles of the Christ, though we have heard and read about them over and over. They never lose their “punch!” Let us look further at our text.
Jesus did many signs. Not just a couple or a few, but “many.” Even Jesus’ adversaries made this confession about Him: “. . . this Man works many signs” (John 11:47). Jesus’ signs were both many in number as well as many in kind. He did a wide variety of miracles in a wide variety of places under a wide variety of circumstances. The multitude and quality of His signs left no doubt that He was, indeed, Whom He claimed to be!
Jesus did signs that others saw. The text of John 20:30 says that He did them in the presence of His disciples. Other Bible texts indicate that on numerous occasions, multitudes were witnesses to His wonders. The fact that they were done in someone’s presence was an indication that they were open to investigation and scrutiny. The way of the Christ was not proclaimed “in secret” (John 18:20), nor were His signs “done in a corner” (Acts 26:26). Don’t you know that if someone could have discredited the signs of Jesus, it would have been done in the 1st century?! Let not your heart be troubled, my dear brothers and sisters: the signs of Jesus’ pass all tests and investigations! Jesus did real signs, He did many signs, and He did them for others to see and investigate. No arrogant, loud-talking blasphemer of our day could ever overturn those historical truths.
Jesus’ signs are recorded in the Bible for a purpose. What is that? Here is God’s answer: “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31). God wanted Jesus’ signs recorded in order to cause readers of the Bible to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Well, what would be God’s motive in wanting us to believe in His Son? That we might have life through His name. There you go – we have a record of Jesus’ signs as part of God’s message to save souls from sin, that is, to give life to those who were dead in sin. Brothers and sisters, do not brush off the signs of the Master. Do not skim over them or rush through them. They are part of God’s scheme to redeem us! They are written down to cause us to believe and to keep on strengthening our faith.
Not every sign that Jesus did when He lived on the earth is recorded in the Bible. That is what the Bible says, right? “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book” (John 20:30). Well, why not? Why is it that we do not have a record of every single sign that Jesus did? First of all, there were just too many of them (John 21:25). Second, those that are recorded are sufficient – they give plain proof that Jesus was, indeed, the Messiah, the Son of the living God, just as He claimed.
By the Holy Spirit, John recorded signs of Jesus in order to produce faith in the hearts of Bible readers. Let us thank God for those signs, for His written record of them, and for their power to produce soul-saving faith.
—Roger D. Campbell
TRUTH is published monthly by the Klang church of Christ in order to help educate, edify, encourage, and equip the saints of God.