Miracles attributed to Jesus

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Types of miracles


The largest group of miracle stories mentioned in the New Testament are those concerning disease and disability. The Gospels give varying amounts of detail for each episode, sometimes Jesus cures simply by saying a few words, or laying on of hands, and at other times employs elaborate rituals using material (e.g. spit or mud). Generally they are recorded in the Synoptic Gospels but not John.

  • Fever - The Synoptics describe Jesus as healing the mother-in-law of Simon Peter when he visited Simon's house in Capernaum, around the time of Jesus recruiting Simon as an Apostle (Mark has it just after the calling of Simon, while Luke has it just before). The synoptics imply that this led other people seeking out Jesus, and him traveling over the whole of Galilee to preach to them.
  • Leprosy - The Synoptics state that, early in Jesus' ministry, he healed a leper, whom he then instructed to offer the requisite ritual sacrifices as proscribed by the Deuteronomic Code and Priestly Code. Jesus instructed the ex-leper not to tell anyone who had healed him, but the man disobeyed, increasing Jesus' fame, and thereafter Jesus withdrew to deserted places, but was followed there. Luke also states that later, while on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus sent ten lepers, who had sought his assistance, to the priests, and that they were healed as they went, but that the only one that came back to thank Jesus was a Samaritan.
  • Long term bleeding - The Synoptics state that while heading to Jairus' house (see the section below on power over death), Jesus was approached by a woman who had been suffering from bleeding for 12 years, and that she touched Jesus' cloak (fringes of his garment: Matt 9:20, 14:36), and was instantly healed. Jesus turned about and, when the woman came forward, said "Daughter, your faith has healed you, go in peace." The bleeding is sometimes interpreted as menorrhagia, but most scholars consider that the duration, 12 years, makes it more plausible that something more like hemophilia is being referred to.
  • Withered hands - The Synoptics state that Jesus entered a synagogue on the Sabbath, and found a man with a withered hand there, whom Jesus healed, having first challenged the people present to decide what was lawful for a Sabbath - to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill . The Gospel of Mark adds that this angered the Pharisees so much that they started to plot about killing Jesus.
  • Dropsy - Luke alone states that, during a Sabbath, Jesus ate in the house of a prominent Pharisee, opposite someone who suffered from dropsy, and Jesus asked the Pharisees that were present if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath, but, after getting no reply, healed the man. Jesus then challenged the Pharisees to say that they would not immediately pull out an ox, or a son (or a donkey, according to some ancient manuscripts of Luke), if it fell into a well during a Sabbath.
  • Deafness - Mark alone states that Jesus went to the Decapolis and met a man there who was deaf and mute, and cured him. Specifically, Jesus first touched the man's ears, and touched his tongue after spitting, and then said Ephphatha!, an Aramaic word meaning Be opened
  • Blindness - The Synoptics state that Jesus met a beggar (Mark gives the name: bar-Timai or son of Timai) who, though blind, still identified Jesus as the Jewish Messiah; Jesus said that the man's faith has healed him, and he received his sight, and was allowed to follow Jesus. This happened when Jesus was leaving Jericho, and Matthew adds that there was another healed at the same time. John mentions as similar event that happened near the Pool of Siloam, with the following details:
    • The disciples first questioned Jesus whether the man's curse was for his own sins, or those of his parents. Jesus said it was for neither reason, "but that the works of God should be made manifest in him."
    • Jesus healed him by spitting on the ground, mixing his spit with mud, and putting the mixture into his eyes, then sent him to wash in the Pool of Siloam
    • The event happened on a Sabbath, and the Pharisees said, "this man is not of God, because he does not keep the Sabbath." They asked the formerly blind man concerning Jesus, who said, "he is a prophet."
    • The Jews did not believe that the healed man was the same person as the man who had been blind from birth, and asked his parents if the healed man was their son, and the parents responded that he was, and had been born blind
    • Jesus identified himself as the Son of God, and the cured man worshiped him

Additionally, Mark alone states that Jesus went to Bethsaida and met another man there who was blind, and then cured him. Specifically, Jesus is described as spitting in the man's eyes, to which the man responded that his vision is now blurred, and then Jesus touched the man's eyes, and the man responded that he can see clearly now. John's account of the healing of has been argued by some scholars to be a conflation of the account of bar-Timai in Mark, together with the healing method given by Mark's account of the second healing of a blind man.[citation needed]
  • Paralysis - The Synoptics state that a paralytic was brought to Jesus on a mat; Jesus told him to get up and walk, and the man did so. Jesus also told the man that his sins were forgiven, which according to the Synoptics irritated the Pharisees, and according to John irritated the people in general. Jesus is described as responding to the anger by asking whether it is easier to say that someone's sins are forgiven, or to tell the man to get up and walk. The Synoptics state that this happened in Capernaum, Luke adding that Jesus was in a house at the time, and that the man had to be lowered through the roof by his friends due to the crowds blocking the door. A similar account is given in John and occurs at the Pool of Bethesda; some have argued this is another version of the event described in the synoptics, rather than a separate cure.
  • Unspecified sickness - All four Canonical Gospels state that Jesus was asked by an official to heal a person important to them, and although Jesus is somewhat annoyed at being constantly asked to perform miracles, rather than being asked for teachings, he says that the person would be healed, and the official returned home to find that this has happened. The Synoptics state that official was one of royalty, originating from Canaan, and that it was his son who was sick, while the Gospel of John states that the official was a centurion, and that it was the centurion's servant that was sick.


According to the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus performed many exorcisms of demoniacs. These incidents are not mentioned by the Gospel of John.

The accounts in the Synoptic Gospels are:

  • The man possessed by a demon at Capernaum - Jesus exorcised an unclean spirit and forbidding the demon from informing people that he was the "Holy One of God". (Mark 1:21-28, Luke 4:31-37)
  • Jesus drove out evil spirits with a word. (Matthew 8:8, 8:14-17, Mark 1:29-39; Luke 4:33-41)
  • The man possessed by demons at Gerasenes, whom the people had tried to chain up but had escaped, and lived in caves, and roamed the hills, screaming - Jesus inquired the man's name, but is told by the man/demons that his name is Legion, "...for we are many"; then the demons asked to be expelled into a group of swine, which Jesus did, and thereafter the pigs fell into a lake and drowned. The pig owners tell the townsfolk what had happened, and when the townsfolk see that the man is now sane, they besought Jesus to leave "for they were taken with great fear." The man, on the other hand, informs the whole of the decapolis what had happened. (Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-20, Luke 8:26-39)
  • Jesus drove a demon out of a mute man who then spoke, the Pharisees said it was by the power of Beelzebub. (Matthew 9:32-34, Mark 3:20-22)
  • Jesus gave the Twelve Apostles the authority to drive out evil spirits. (Matthew 10:1-8, Mark 3:15, 6:7, 6:13, Luke 9:1, 10:17)
  • Jesus said if he drove out demons by the Spirit of God or Finger of God then the Kingdom of God has come. (Matthew 12:22-32, Luke 11:14-23, 12:10;, Mark 3:20-30)
  • The possessed daughter of the Canaanite or phoenician woman in Tyre - the woman asks Jesus to heal her daughter, but Jesus says "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." The woman replies, "Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table," whereupon Jesus tells her that her daughter is healed, and when the woman returns home she finds that this is true. (Matthew 15:21-28, Mark 7:24-30)
  • The boy possessed by a demon that is brought forward to Jesus straight after Jesus' transfiguration, and who foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, becomes rigid, and involuntarily falls into both water and fire - Jesus' followers cannot expel the demon, and Jesus condemns the people as unbelieving, but when the father of the boy questions if Jesus can heal the boy, Jesus says everything is possible for those that believe, so the father says he believes that the boy could be healed, and Jesus does so. (Matthew 17:14-21, Mark 9:14-29, Luke 9:37-49)
  • Jesus had driven seven demons out of Mary Magdalene. (Mark 16:9, Luke 8:2)
  • Jesus continued to cast out demons even though Herod Antipas wanted to kill him. (Luke 13:31-32)

Controlling nature

The Gospels tell another group of stories concerning Jesus' power over nature:

  • The Feeding of the 5000 and of the 4000 men - Jesus, praying to God and using only a few loaves of bread and fish, feeds thousands of men, along with an unspecified number of women and children; there are even a number of baskets of leftovers afterward.
  • The Cursing of the Fig Tree - Jesus cursed a fig tree, and it withered.
  • Turning Water into Wine - at a wedding, when the host runs out of wine, the disciples of Jesus fill vessels with water, but the waiter pronounces the content of the vessels as the best wine that has been served that night.
  • Walking on water - Jesus walked on a lake to meet a boat.
  • Transfiguration of Jesus - Jesus climbed a mountain and been changed so that his face glowed.
  • The Catch of 153 fish - Jesus instructed the disciples to throw their net over the side of the water, resulting in them hauling in the huge catch (for hand fishing) of 153 fish.
  • Calming a storm - during a storm, the disciples woke Jesus, and he rebuked the storm causing it to become calm. Jesus then rebukes the disciples for lack of faith.
  • Transubstantiation during the last supper; disputed by some denominations. (see Christian Interpretations below)

Power over death

The Canonical Gospels report three cases where Jesus calls a dead person back to life:

  • Jairus' daughter - Jairus, a major patron of a synagogue, asks Jesus to heal his daughter, but while Jesus is on his way, men tell Jairus that his daughter has died. Jesus says she was only sleeping and wakes her up with the word Talitha koum!.
  • The son of the widow at Nain - A young man, the son of a widow, is brought out for burial in Nain. Jesus sees her, and his pity causes him to tell her not to cry. Jesus approaches the coffin and tells the man inside to get up, and he does so.
  • The raising of Lazarus - a close friend of Jesus who has been dead for four days is brought back to life when Jesus commands him to get up.
  • Jesus' own resurrection from the dead.

While the raising of the daughter of Jairus is in all the Synoptic Gospels (but not in the Gospel of John), the raising of the son of the widow of Nain appears only in the Gospel of Luke, and the raising of Lazarus appears only in the Gospel of John. It has been argued by several scholars and commentators[citation needed] that the story of the raising of Lazarus and that of the Nain widow's son really refer to the same event, considered to derive from the raising of the youth in the original Mark.

Supernatural knowledge

The ability of Jesus to know things by supernatural means could also be classed as a miracle. This may explain the reason why Nathaniel responded to Jesus saying, "Before that Philip called thee, when thou was under the fig tree, I saw thee", by answering, "Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel."[1] It could be perhaps that when he was under the fig tree, Nathaniel had been praying in secret which elicited this response, rather than that he did not know that he had merely been observed in the natural way.


Christian perspective

To some Gnostics, death had a profoundly allegorical meaning; people who had renounced their lack of knowledge and their carnality, becoming gnostics, were referred to as having died, since they had metaphorically escaped the prison of the body. Some Gnostics viewed resurrection as an allegory for people attaining gnosis, and not as something that had to literally have happened, hence viewing these miracles as metaphors, and teaching devices, not actual events.According to those who see Gnosticism as the original version of Christianity, this is how the events were intended to be interpreted, and hence they were non historic, never really having been meant to be seen as historic.[citation needed]

Critical scholarship

Aside from literal interpretations, and assumptions of them being fiction, numerous other explanations of the events have been put forward throughout history. Beginning with the Gnostics, it has been suggested that the reports of alleged miracles were actually intended just as allegories, not as factual events.[citation needed] Healing the blind has been argued to be a metaphor for people who previously could not, or would not, see the truth being shown it;[citation needed] healing the deaf has been interpreted as simply meaning that people who could not, or would not, listen to true teachings were made to;[citation needed] similarly, healing paralysis has been interpreted as an allegory for rectifying inaction;[citation needed] and healing leprosy for removing the societal stigmatism associated with certain stances.[citation needed] It has also been argued that bar-Timai is a direct reference to Plato's Timaeus, a philosophical work, and that bar-Timai symbolizes the hellenic audience of Mark's gospel, and that curing his blindness is a metaphor for the Gospel giving a revelation to the audience. [2]

Other scholars have suggested that the Bible is more literal than that, but that the events can be scientifically explained by arguing that Jesus had a high knowledge of herbalism, as was common amongst the teachers of many mystery religions, and ascetic groups like the Essenes, and simply applied quite ordinary and scientific cures for the symptoms described.[citation needed] Though things like blindness and deafness may seem incurable without very modern medicine, it has been argued by these scholars that it is not true blindness, deafness, etc., being referred to, but more easily curable illness such as conjunctivitis, and glue ear.[citation needed] Out of the Canonical Gospels, Matthew adds several other episodes of Jesus healing people who are blind, deaf, mute, lame, or some combination of these four; many scholars see this as an example of the common trait of Matthew trying to portray Jesus as fulfilling an Old Testament prophecy, in this case Isaiah 35:5-6.[citation needed] Those who believe the miracles happened as literally stated also sometimes think there is a reference to this part of Isaiah, though in their case, these believers argue that Jesus was fulfilling the prophecy, rather than the author editing Jesus to fit it.[citation needed]

Some modern scholars dismiss exorcisms as simply being cases of mental illness and afflictions such as epilepsy.[citation needed] Some scholars typically see these exorcisms of such illness as allegorical, representative of Jesus' teachings clearing even the most troubled mind.[citation needed] Some critical scholars, however, have suggested that the events could have been real, though with the scientific explanation of the illnesses, and that the cures given were really just psychological drugs that Jesus, like many others in the era, would have been aware of; for example, Sage and Mistletoe were used in early times to treat epilepsy, and Snakeroot was used to treat schizophrenia.[citation needed]

A study by the Jesus Seminar of what aspects of the Gospel accounts are likely to be factual, held that while the various cures Jesus gave for diseases are probably true, since there were many others in the ancient world credited with healing power, most of the other miracles of Jesus are nonfactual, at least in their literal interpretation from the Bible. The veracity of exorcisms carried out by Jesus is questioned among some scholars, as according to modern science there is no evidence for demonic possession.

Concerning the resurrection, most non-Christian scholars point to the paucity of evidence,[citation needed] as well as the lack of evidence for other people having come back from the dead, and so reject the resurrection's historicity.[citation needed] The Jesus Seminar concluded: "in the view of the Seminar, he did not rise bodily from the dead; the resurrection is based instead on visionary experiences of Peter, Paul, and Mary." [1] Raymond E. Brown however argued that the seminar used an a priori bias against the supernatural and that events such as the resurrection had no chance of being admitted by the group as historical. [3]

Islamic perspective

According to the Islamic view point, Jesus was a highly honorable Prophet of God. Jesus is not considered to be God or associate of God. Islamic belief about the Prophethood of Jesus is referred in the Quranic Verse 4:171 as:

"O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an apostle of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His apostles. Say not "Trinity" : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah. Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs."

Furthermore Prophethood of Jesus is mentioned in verses 4:172 5:75 19:30

List of miracles attributed to Jesus in various sources

It is not always clear when two reported miracles refer to the same event. An attempt has been made to indicate those that probably are related. Summarizing the table below, there are 47 miracles of Jesus recorded during his life-time, 40 of them recorded in the canonical Gospels and 7 recorded only in non-canonical sources[4]. The chronological order of the miracles is difficult to determine, so this list should not be viewed as a sequence.

MiracleMatthewMarkLukeJohnOther sources
AnnunciationLuke 1:26-38Qur'an 3:45-51, 19:16-26
Miraculous baptismMatt 3:13-17Mark 1:9-11Luke 3:21-22John 1:32-34
Angels protected Jesus in the desertMatthew 4:11Mark 1:12-13
Miraculous conversion of NathanaelJohn 1:45-51
Turned water into wineJohn 2:1-11
Exorcism in CapernaumMark 1:21-28Luke 4:31-37
Healed every diseaseMatt 4:23-25Mark 1:39
Caught large number of fish, converted fishermen to "fishers of men"Luke 5:1-11
Jesus' name exorcises demons and performs many miraclesMatt 7:22Mark 9:38-40, 16:17Luke 9:49-50, 10:17John 1:12-13. 2:23, 3:18, 14:13-14, 17:11-12Acts 3:6, 4:10, 4:30, 16:18, 19:11-20
Cured a leperMatt 8:1-4Mark 1:40-45Luke 5:12-16Egerton Gospel 2, Qur'an
Miraculous conversion of a Samaritan womanJohn 4:28-29
Cured a centurion's boy-servantMatt 8:5-13Luke 7:1-10
Cured a royal official's sonJohn 4:46-54
Cured Peter's mother-in-law's fever and drove out many evil spiritsMatt 8:14-17Mark 1:29-34Luke 4:38-41
Drove 7 demons out of Mary MagdaleneMark 16:9Luke 8:2
Calmed a storm at sea by rebuking the wind and wavesMatt 8:23-27Mark 4:35-41Luke 8:22-25
Healed the Gerasene DemoniacMatt 8:28-34Mark 5:1-20Luke 8:26-39
Cured a paralytic at CapernaumMatt 9:1-8Mark 2:1-12Luke 5:17-26
Cured a paralytic at the Pool of BethesdaJohn 5:1-18
Raised the son of a widow at NainLuke 7:11-17
Raised Jairus' daughter by saying Talitha koum!Matt 9:18-26Mark 5:21-43Luke 8:40-56
Healed a woman with a hemorrhage who touched the fringes of his garment [5]Matt 9:20-22Mark 5:24-34Luke 8:43-48
Healed two blind men, a mute, and every disease and ailmentMatt 9:27-35
Twelve Apostles given authority to exorcise demons and raise the deadMatt 10:1, 10:8Mark 3:13-15, 6:7Luke 9:1
Unspecified miracles at Chorazin, Bethsaida, CapernaumMatt 11:20-24Luke 10:13-15
Healed a man's withered handMatt 12:9-13Mark 3:1-6Luke 6:6-11
Healed huge crowdsMatt 12:15-21Mark 3:7-12Luke 6:17-19
Healed a blind and dumb demoniacMatt 12:22-32Mark 3:20-30Luke 11:14-23; 12:10
Fed 5000Matt 14:13-21Mark 6:30-44Luke 9:10-17John 6:1-14
Walked on waterMatt 14:22-33Mark 6:45-52John 6:15-21
All those who touched the fringes of his garment were curedMatt 14:34-36Mark 6:53-56
Exorcised a Canaanite (Syro-Phoenecian) womanMatt 15:21-28Mark 7:24-30
Healed a deaf-mute by saying Ephphatha!Mark 7:31-37
Healed large numbers of crippled, blind and muteMatt 15:29-31
Fed 4000Matt 15:32-39Mark 8:1-10
Restored a man's sight at BethsaidaMark 8:22-26
TransfigurationMatt 17:1-13Mark 9:2-13Luke 9:28-362 Peter 1:17-18
Exorcised a possessed boyMatt 17:14-21Mark 9:14-29Luke 9:37-43
paid temple tax with a stater coin taken from a fish's mouthMatt 17:23-27
Healed a woman on the SabbathLuke 13:10-17
Continued to cast out demons even though Herod Antipas wanted to kill himLuke 13:31-32
Raised LazarusJohn 11:1-44Qur'an
Healed a man with dropsyLuke 14:1-6
Healed ten lepersLuke 17:11-19
Healed large crowds in JudeaMatt 19:1-2
Healed two blind menMatt 20:29-34
Healed the blind beggar BartimaeusMark 10:46-52Luke 18:35-43Qur'an
Blind man given sightJohn 9
Healed blind and lame at Herod's TempleMatt 21:14
Cursed a fig treeMatt 21:18-22Mark 11:12-14, 11:20-25
Transubstantiation of bread and wine[6]Matt 26:26-30Mark 14:22-26Luke 22:14-20John 6:48-661 Cor 11:23-26
Satanic possession of JudasJohn 13:26-30
Healed High Priest's servant's earLuke 22:49-51
Darkness like a Solar eclipse during Passover, see also Crucifixion eclipseMatt 27:45Mark 15:33Luke 23:44-45
Many of the dead resurrected when Jesus diedMatt 27:50-54
Empty tombMatt 27:62–28:15Mark 16:1–8Luke 24:1–12John 20:1-10Gospel of Peter 8:1-13:3
Resurrection appearancesMatt 28:9-10, 28:16-20Mark 16:9-18Luke 24:13-49John 20:11-23Acts 1:1-8, 2:24, Romans 10:9, 1 Cor 9:1, 15:1-15
Ascended to HeavenMark 16:19-20Luke 24:50-53Acts 1:9-11, 1 Peter 3:21-22, Secret Book of James 10:1-3, Qur'an
Doubting ThomasJohn 20:24-31
Catch of 153 fish post-resurrectionJohn 21:1-14
Miraculous conversion of PaulActs 9:1-19,22:1-22,26:9-24
Descended into HellEphesians 4:8-10, Acts 2:27, 2:31, 1 Peter 3:19-20, 4:6, Apostles' Creed, Ante-Nicene Fathers
Sent Paraclete/Holy SpiritMatt 3:10-12Mark 1:8Luke 3:16-17John 14:16, 14:26, 15:26, 16:7Acts 1:5, 1:8, 2:4, 2:38, 11:16, Qur'an
Rich young man raised from the deadSecret Gospel of Mark 1
Water controlled and purifiedInfancy Thomas 2.2
Made birds of clay and brought them to lifeInfancy Thomas 2.3, Qur'an 3:49
Resurrected dead playmate ZenoInfancy Thomas 9
Healed a woodcutter's footInfancy Thomas 10
Held water in his cloakInfancy Thomas 11
Harvested 100 bushels of wheat from a single seedInfancy Thomas 12
Stretched a board that was short for carpentryInfancy Thomas 13
Resurrected a teacher he earlier struck downInfancy Thomas 14-15
Healed James' viper biteInfancy Thomas 16
Resurrected a dead childInfancy Thomas 17
Resurrected a dead manInfancy Thomas 18
Miraculous Virgin Birth verified by midwifeInfancy James 19-20