It is impossible to calculate how many miracles Christ performed. Most of them are referred to collectively, and those are greatly in excess of the number recorded in detail. Not all He said or accomplished is recorded, and the many references to unparticularized miracles indicate that those He relieved must have been considerable. (See Matthew 4:23, 24; 9:35; 11:21; Mark 6:53-56; Luke 4:40, 41; 5:15; 6:17-19; 7:21; John 2:23; 3:2; 4:45; 21:25; Acts 10:38). What a volume it would make if all the parables He uttered and all the miracles He performed could be traced! The miracles we do have on record were specially selected by the Holy Spirit for their spiritual value and teaching.
As to the specified miracles on record, it will be found that expositors in their writings differ as to the number. Fausset says, "The 40 miracles of Christ recorded are but samples out of a greater number." Scroggie says they are 35 in number. Trench, in his well known volume on The Miracles expounds 33 of Christ's miracles. It will be seen that what we have endeavored to do is to closely examine the four gospels and set forth every miracle and also every event of a supernatural character recorded by the evangelists—and such an arduous task was most revealing and rewarding. We have not only the miracles Christ Himself performed, but those performed for Him and those performed by, and for, others. Some writers have dealt with Christ's miracles according to their sphere—miracles of restored sight, miracles of resurrection, etc. What we have endeavored to do is to go through the gospels and deal with their miracles more or less chronologically.
The narrative dealing with the birth of John the Baptist, our Lord's forerunner, presents a series of initial miracles. First of all, there was the supernatural appearance and announcement as the blameless priest ministered before the Lord. When he was engaged in his priestly duties, an angel came to him on the right hand of the altar of incense and, quieting his fear, assured him that his prayer for the promised Messiah was heard, and that his wife Elizabeth and he would have a son who would prepare the Messiah's way.
As Zacharias and Elizabeth were "well stricken in years," meaning that Elizabeth was beyond the age of conceiving and bearing a son, the angelic announcement seemed impossible and called forth an expression of latent unbelief. Incredulously, Zacharias asked, "Whereby shall I know this?" for which the temporary judgment of dumbness was inflicted upon him. Shortly after this mark of divine displeasure was removed, the once silent lips magnified God, not only for the birth of John, but for the One to whom he would bear witness. Let us examine more particularly the miraculous in the narrative before us.
First of all, we have the appearance of the angel of high rank, Gabriel, whose privilege it was along with John the Baptist, (whose birth he came from before the presence of God to announce) to prepare the way for Christ's coming. As I have indicated in my volume on The Mystery and Ministry of Angels, Gabriel seems to be the angelic prophet, an interpreter of the prophetic Word and a revealer of the purposes of God. It was he who flew swiftly to Daniel and expounded to him the whole course of Gentile history and who also announced to Mary that she was to be the virgin mother of the Saviour of the world.
Then there was the penalty Zacharias suffered for his reaction to Gabriel's God-given revelation. The use of hand signs by the kindred of Zacharias, as well as the use of a writing tablet (1:62, 63), seem to suggest that the godly priest was deprived of the power of hearing as well as speech. His condition was that of a deaf-mute. The God who is able to make the dumb speak (Matthew 15:31) can cause men to be dumb (1:20, 64; Ezekiel 3:26, 27). In the dumbness of Zacharias, then in his restored speech, we have a double miracle.
In the conception of John the Baptist we have another miracle. Elizabeth had been barren all through her bearing years, and at the time of Gabriel's appearance she was, like Sarah of old, beyond the natural time of having a child. The Creator, however, not only removed the barrenness of Elizabeth but determined the sex of the child she was to bear—a son— and also announced his name before he was born—John (1:13, 63).
Another miracle, unobserved it may be, yet nevertheless real, is the way Elizabeth's unborn son leaped in her womb at the salutation of Mary (1:40-44). Not only did Elizabeth recognize that the Child which Mary was to bear would be the Son of the Highest, the long-expected Messiah, but also the babe in Elizabeth's womb came to life and by his lively movements indicated his recognition of Mary's unborn Son, One who would be greater than he. From that moment Mary was filled with the Spirit and gave utterance to her soul-stirring Magnificat. However, surrounded as he was by the supernatural, exercising as dynamic a ministry as he did, John the Baptist was not privileged to perform one miracle (John 10:41).
John opens his gospel with a most amazing sentence—"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The "in the beginning" of Genesis 1:1 introduces us to the first creative act of the Godhead, but John's "in the beginning," going back beyond the starting point of time Genesis, begins with and asserts the pre-existence of the Creator. "Moses strikes the chord to descend the stream of time; John strikes it to look out on the expanse of eternity lying beyond created things, but in which the Word was already existing."
Christ is presented to us as the Word— a designation of His eternal ministry. "His Name is called The Word of God" (Revelation 19:13). As the Word, He came as the revelation of the Father's mind (John 14:8, 9). As words make real our inner thoughts, so Christ as the Word made the mind of God audible and His will intelligible. Words express thoughts, and Christ came expressing the divine mind. As the Word, Christ was with God, meaning that He was ever in the bosom of the Father. From the dateless past, Father and Son had lived in unbroken communion. Then, as the Word Christ was God, which implies oneness of essence. "The Father and I are one" (John 10:30). For the assertion of this coequality, religious leaders tried to stone Him (John 5:18; Philippians 2:6).
Association with God in the marvelous work of Creation is emphasized in the declaration, "All things were made by Him and without Him was not any thing made, that was made" (1:3; Colossians 1:15, 16). By Him is actually through Him, and as Dr. F. B. Meyer observes, "The preposition through is always used of the office of our blessed Lord in the work of creation (I Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2) and is full of meaning. It leaves God the Father as the Origin and Source of all things, so that the elders are justified in their perpetual ascription of worship before His throne (Revelation 4:11); but God the Son, our Lord, is the Organ through which the creative purpose moves. Through Him the infinite God utters Himself in His words."
Not any thing is inserted to make exceptions impossible. The Greek reads—not a single thing. Behind the miracle of creation was the miracle-working Christ whom the gospels present. He it was who created the world He was to inhabit, and man, who was fashioned in His image.
Christ, who called Himself "the Life" (John 14:6), was the One who called Life into existence in its varied forms—natural and physical, animal and intellectual, spiritual and religious. He also was "the Light." Hitherto, ineffable light was insufferable, but "Christ shed it forth on created vision, revealing yet tempering its beauty, passing it through the luminous and yet shrouding veil of His words." One of the miracles of the Incarnation was that Life became Light. True life is always luminous.
The miracle of miracles was this august Creator of life and light being made flesh and, living among men, manifested an eternal glory that could not be hid (1:14). writer, F. B. Meyer:
Christ was bora of a woman; yet He made woman. He ate and hungered, drank and thirsted; yet He made the corn to grow on the mountains, and poured the rivers from his crystal chalice. He needed sleep; yet He slumbers not, and needs not to repair His wasted energy. He wept; yet He created the lachrymal duct. He died; yet He is the ever-living Jehovah, and made the tree of His cross. He inherited all things by death; yet they were His before by inherent right. What else can we do but bow in reverence before such a stupendous miracle!