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Bible Study: New Testament

Miracles of the New Testament

Action or proof by Divine power outside the ordinary course of nature

Of the Meaning of "Miracle."

Miracle may be defined as that which takes place by Divine power outside the ordinary course of nature. Miracles are not an end in themselves but are intended to show either the truth of what is taught or the presence of God in the person who teaches. The object of Christ's miracles was to prove His Divinity that so men might come to salvation. Some of these miracles proved His Divinity in that the cures He wrought were such as could only have been done by Divine power, e.g. John 9:32; others proved it by the way in which they were performed, for He healed by His own power, not by praying for a miracle from God, e.g. Luke 7:19. These miracles, then, were wrought in confirmation of the most stupendous doctrine, viz. that Christ was God. In proving to men His Divinity He had to show not only that He came from the Father to prove which He prayed before working the miracle, e.g. Matt. 14:19 but also that He was equal to the Father. In proof of this He forgave sins and raised the dead by His own inherent power, e.g. Matt. 9:29. While, many of His miracles were such as had been performed by the Saints of the Old Testament, yet He alone performed them frequently and by His own power. At the same time some of His miracles may be said to be peculiarly His own in that none shared them with him, e.g. His Virgin-Birth, His Resurrection, His Transfiguration, and His Ascension.

Further, in proof of His Divinity He had to show His dominion over the whole of creation, over evil spirits as well as over the lower created world, thus cp. Zach. 13:2, and John 12:31. Remembering that miracles are but a means to an end and that that end is the illumination of men's souls for their ultimate salvation, we shall understand that the interior illuminations which He afforded to some, e.g. to Levi and the sons of Zebedee when they promptly obeyed His call, were not so much miracles as the goal of all miracles. At the same time, inasmuch as these illuminations produced certain amazing exterior effects, they caused men to marvel and were thus proofs of the Divinity of Him Who produced them; in this sense they may be grouped under the heading of miracles. In so far, too, as certain conversions were instantaneous so that Saul became on the instant St. Paul, or the "sinner in the city" St. Mary Magdalen, they were miraculous in that they did not follow the ordinary course of such conversions which generally proceed through certain definite stages.

Similarly, we must not suppose that the Transfiguration was not a miracle on the ground that the Divinity was but hidden in the Incarnate Word of God and that its manifestation was therefore more natural that its obscuration. For the glory of the Divinity was not a permanent quality of the Sacred Humanity which, on occasion of the Transfiguration, Avas affected by it much as the air is affected by the light that passes through it. If we refuse to regard the Transfiguration as a miracle we must equally refuse to regard Christ's walking on the water a miracle.[1]

Lists of the Miracles and Allusions to Miracles in the New Testament.

St. Matthew:

Matt. 1:18. The miraculous conception of Christ, Luke 1:27.

Matt. 2:2-9. The star that appeared to the Magi.

Matt. 3:16-17. The Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove; the voice from heaven, cp. Mark 1:10-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:32-33

Matt. 4:23-24. A series of miraculous cures.

Matt. 8:2-4. He heals a leper, cp. Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-14.

Matt. 8:5-13. He heals the centurion's servant, cp. Luke 7:1-10.

Matt. 8:14-15. He heals Peter's wife's mother, cp. Mark 1:30-31; Luke 4:38-39.

Matt. 8:16. He heals many, cp. Mark 1:32-34; Luke 4:40-41.

Matt. 8:23-27. He stills the storm, cp. Mark 4:36-40; Luke 8:22-25.

Matt. 8:28-34. He heals two demoniacs at Gerasa; the devils pass into the swine. It should be remembered that their passing into these swine was not a miracle worked by Christ but something done by the evil spirits and simply permitted by Him; cp. Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39, in both Mark and Luke only one demoniac is mentioned.

Matt. 9:1-8. He heals the palsied man, cp. Mark 2:3-12; Luke 5:18-26.

Matt. 9:18-31. He raises to life the ruler's daughter, and on His way to the house He heals the woman with the issue of blood, cp. Mark 5:22-43 . Luke 8:41-56; in both Mark and Luke the ruler's name is given as Jairus.

Matt. 9:27-31. He heals two blind men.

Matt. 9:32-34. He heals one who is possessed and dumb, cp. Luke 11:14.

Matt. ix. 35. He heals many, cp. Mark 6:6.

Matt. x. i. He confers on the Apostles the power of healing, cp. Mark 3:15; Luke 9:1-2.

Matt. 11:5. He heals many, cp. Luke 7:21.

Matt. 11:21. The miracles He has wrought in Corozain, Luke 10:13.

Matt. 11:23. The miracles He has wrought in Capharnaum.

Matt. 12:9-13. He heals a man with a withered hand, cp. Mark 3:1-5; Luke 6:6-10.

Matt. 12:22. He heals a man who is possessed, and blind as well as dumb.

Matt. 13:58. He works " not many miracles " at Nazareth, cp. Mark 6:1-5; Luke 4:16.

Matt. 14:2. Herod hears of His " mighty works," cp. Mark 6:14; Luke 9:9.

Matt. 14:14. He heals the sick, cp. Luke 9:11.

Matt. 14:15-21. He multiplies bread for 5,000 men, cp. Mark vi. 31-44; Luke ix. 12-17; John vi. 3-14; also Matt. 16:9, Mark 8:19.

Matt. 14:24-25. He walks on the sea, cp. Mark 6:48; John 6:19.

Matt. 14:26-31. He enables Peter to do the same.

Matt. 14:32. The wind suddenly ceased, cp. Mark 6:51.

Matt. 14:36. He healed many who sought to touch His garment, cp. Mark 6:55-56.

Matt. 15:22-28. He heals the daughter of the Syro-phœnician woman, cp. Mark 7:24-30.

Matt. 15:30. He heals many.

Matt. 15:32-39. He multiplies bread for 4,000 men, cp. Mark 8:1-9; also Matt. 16:10, Mark 8:20.

Matt. 17:1-9. He is transfigured, cp. Mark 9:1-9; Luke 9:28-36, and 2 Peter 1:16-18.

Matt. 17:14-17. He heals the "lunatic boy," cp. Mark 9:16-26; Luke 9:38-44.

Matt. 17:26. The stater is miraculously found in the fish's mouth.

Matt. 19:2. He heals many.

Matt. 20:29-34. He heals two blind men, as He was going " out from Jericho"; cp. Mark 10:45-52; Luke 18:35-43; Mark and Luke only mention one blind man; Mark tells us that his name was Bartimaeus. Moreover both Mark and Luke say that He healed him as He was " entering into Jericho."

Matt. 21:12. He cleanses the Temple of buyers and sellers, cp. Mark 11:15-16; Luke 19:45; John 2:13-16. St. Jerome remarks [2] that " of all the miracles which He performed this was the most wonderful"; similarly Origen [3] says that "it was not second in point of power to any of the most marvellous works He wrought."

Matt. 21:14. He healed many in the Temple.

Matt. 21:19-21. He curses the fig-tree and it withers away, cp. Mark 11:13-14, 20-21.

Matt. 26:26-29. The miracle of Transubstantiation, " a greater miracle than creation," St. Thomas, Summa Theologica, III. 75:8, ad 3m.; cp. Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19-20.

Matt. 27:45. The darkness at the Crucifixion, cp. Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44-45.

Matt. 27:51. The veil of the Temple was rent, cp. Mark 15:38, Luke 23:45.

Matt. 27:51. The rock was opened at His death.

Matt. 27:52-53. The graves were opened and the dead arose.

Matt. 28:6. The Resurrection, cp. Mark 16:6; Luke 24:6; John 20:17.

St. Mark:

Mark 1:23-27. He frees a man from an unclean spirit, cp. Luke 4:33-35.

Mark 1:39. He casts out devils.

Mark 3:9-12. He heals many and casts out evil spirits.

Mark 6:7. He gives the Apostles power over unclean spirits.

Mark 6:13. The Apostles cast out many evil spirits.

Mark 7:32-37. He heals one who is deaf and dumb.

Mark 8:22-26. He heals a blind man.

Mark 9:37-38. No man that doth a miracle in My Name can soon speak ill of Me, cp. Luke 9:49.

Mark 16:19. The Ascension, cp. Acts 1:9.

Mark 16:17-20. The promise that His disciples shall be able to cast out devils, to drink poison with impunity; the signs that followed on their ministry.

St. Luke:

Luke 1:13, 1:24. The miraculous conception of the Baptist.

Luke 1:20, 1:64. The miraculous dumbness of Zachary.

Luke 1:31, 35. The miraculous conception of Christ.

Luke 1:41, 44. The Baptist is miraculously filled with the Holy Spirit.

Luke 2:7. The miraculous birth of Christ.

Luke 4:30. He passes through the midst of His enemies.

Luke 5:1-11. The miraculous draught of fishes.

Luke 7:11-16. He raises to life the son of the widow of Nairn.

Luke 7:21-22. He heals many.

Luke 9:6. The Apostles performed miracles of healing everywhere.

Luke 10:9. He gives to the Seventy-two disciples the power to heal the sick.

Luke 10:17. They heal many.

Luke 13:11-17. He heals the woman with the "spirit of infirmity."

Luke 13:22. I cast out devils and do cures.

Luke 14:1-4. He heals the dropsical man.

Luke 17:12-19. He heals ten lepers.

Luke 22:51. He heals the ear of the servant of the High priest.

St. John:

John 1:47-50. Christ's knowledge of Nathaniel, cp. 2:24-25; 4:18; 6:15; 6:71-72; 13:1, 13:3, 13:11, 13:38.

John 2:1-11. He changes water into wine at Cana at Galilee.

John 2:14-17. The clearing of the Temple.

John 4:46-54. He heals the ruler's son at Capharnaum.

John 5:2-16. He heals the paralytic, cp. 7:21, 23.

John 6:5-13. The multiplication of the loaves for 5,000 men.

John 6:19. He walks on the water.

John 6:21. The ship came immediately to land on His entering it.

John 8:59. He hid Himself, cp. 10:39, and Luke 4:30.

John 9:1-38. He heals the man born blind, cp. 10:21.

John 11:1-44. He raises Lazarus to life, cp. 12:1, 9, 17.

John 12:37. His " many miracles "; cp. 5:36; 15:24, etc.

John 18:6. He causes the soldiers who would arrest Him to fall.

John 20 - John 21. His Resurrection.

John 21:1-13. The miraculous draught of fishes.

For the constant allusion to " signs " that he wrought, see 2:23, 6:2, 6:26, 7:3-4, 7:31, 11:47, 12:37, 20:30, 21:25.

For Christ's allusions to His own "Works" as proofs of His Divinity, see 5:17, 5:36, 7:21, 9:3-4, 10:25, 10:32, 10:37, 10:38, 14:10, 14:12, 15:24.

The Acts of the Apostles:

Acts 1:1. Jesus began to do and to teach.

Acts 1:3. The many proofs of His Resurrection.

Acts 1:9. His Ascension into heaven.

Acts 2:1-4. The Descent of the Holy Spirit, cp. 4:31, 8:17, 10:44-45, 11:15, 19:6.

Acts 2:43. "Signs" are wrought by the Apostles, cp. v. 12, 14:3.

Acts 3:1-10. Peter and John heal the man lame from birth, cp. 4:9, 4:14, 4:16, 4:21-22.

Acts 4:30. The Apostles pray that "signs" may accompany their preaching, cp. Mark 16:20.

Acts 5:1-11. Ananias and Saphira are struck dead.

Acts 5:15-16. Peter's shadow heals many.

Acts 5:19-23. The Apostles are miraculously delivered from prison.

Acts 6:8. Stephen works many " signs."

Acts 8:6-8, 13. Philip the Deacon works many " signs."

Acts 9:3-9. Saul's conversion, cp. 22:6-16; 26:12-18.

Acts 9:32-35. Peter raises Eneas.

Acts 9:36-43. Peter raises Tabitha.

Acts 12:7-11, 18. Peter is miraculously delivered from prison.

Acts 13:9-11. Paul strikes Elymas with blindness.

Acts 14:3. Paul works " signs " at Iconium.

Acts 14:7-10. At Lystra Paul raises the lame man.

Acts 16:16-18. At Philippi he expels the pythonical spirit from a girl.

Acts 16:25-26. At Philippi he and Silas are miraculously delivered from prison.

Acts 19:11-12. Paul's many miracles, cp. Rom. 15:18-19, 2 Cor. 12:12.

Acts 20:7-12. He raises Eutychus to life at Troas.

Acts 28:3-6. He is bitten by a viper but feels no effect, cp. Mark 16:18.

Acts 28:7-8. He heals Publius' father.

Acts 28:9. He works many miracles of healing.

For the many miracles which accompanied the Apostles preaching such passages should be noted as 1 Cor. 2:4, 12:10, 14:22, Gal. 3:5, 1 Thess. 1:5.

1 For the doctrine here laid down see St. Thomas, Summa Theol. III. qn. xliii-xlv.; also St. Augustine, Tract, in Joan. VIII. 1-3; XVII. i; X14:1-2; XCI. 2-3, etc,

2 Com. on Matt. 21:15.

3 Jom. I. 16 in Joann.

By Very Rev. Hugh Pope, O.P., S.T.M.
Doctor in Sacred Scripture,
Member of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, and
late Professor of New Testament Exegesis at the Collegio Angelico, Rome.

Nihil Obstat.