Miracles: How do we know Jesus Performed Them?

The Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, the raising of Lazarus, even the Old Testament miracles, all are freely used for religious propaganda, and they are very effective with an audience of unsophisticated and children

~ Richard Dawkins

From Caleb,

Miracles are what make the Gospels not only extraordinary but also cause for rejection by many people. If the Gospels didn’t contain miracles, people have no problem accepting Jesus as a crazy Jewish rabbi with wacked-out teachings. Historians and archaeologists support/validate that Jesus of Nazareth was a real man that walked the earth.

Josephus, who was 1st century Jewish Historian, was one of many historians to validate the life of Jesus. Many times in his writings he mentions Jesus. While there is record of a man named Jesus, people may suggest the fact that it could have simply bee another man that went by the same name; however, this possibility it ruled out when we see how these historians specified the characteristics of Jesus and those who followed him. In these historical documents, most writers consistently talk about Jesus as “The King of the Jews”, or they mention how he gained a great crowd of Jewish followers.

From these sources and evidence within, it can be understood that these historians were writing about the same Jesus from the New Testament in the Bible. Although, despite having these external pieces of evidence, many people will deny the entirety of the Gospels because of the accounts of Jesus performing miracles.

How Do We Defend It

How might you defend the fact that Jesus performed miracles? Often, People won’t deny the fact that he lived, but people will deny the things he did while he lived on earth. Josephus wrote not only about the life of Jesus but also the things that he did. Some speculate that Josephus had his writing edited and changed by a Christian writer after his death, which makes them unreliable; however, his writings have been sifted through by scholars and this is how they have determined the original copy of his writings were reliable. In his original Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, Chapter 3, Section 3, Josephus wrote this about Jesus:

“a wise man. He was a doer of startling deeds, a teacher of people who receive the truth with pleasure. And he gained a following among many Jews and among many of Greek origin.”

These startling deeds are deeds far beyond what would seem in the natural realm of possibility; this greatly supports the claims of Jesus’s miraculous actions in the New Testament.

Some question the reliability of Josephus’s writings. But another piece of evidence is from the Talmud. It is a collection of Jewish teachings, which briefly documents the nature of Jesus’s actions. The Talmud describes Jesus as a sorcerer who used the magic arts he learned in Egypt. All of these are great pieces of evidence for Jesus performing miracles.

Practical Application

How do you use this knowledge to share the Gospel with people? If someone directly objects, it is easy to simply answer the question with evidence. Although, when in a conversation about things that are doubtful, it is easy to transition and start talking about this topic. You could talk about how incredible it is that the miracles of Jesus seem so far fetched, yet there are even people that back it up. Then behold! The conversation has just begun!