OceanSide church of Christ

 Previous Return to BibleClass Next  Click to download Audio

The Symbolic Meaning of Jesus’ Miracles


There is genuine confusion even among Christian denominations as to whether true miracles still happen today. Paul tells us quite clearly that miracles were no longer needed when the complete and perfect word of God had been revealed.    

1 Corinthians 13:8-10  Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.  [9] For we know in part and we prophesy in part.  [10]  But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.


Definition of Miracle:

{Easton’s Bible Dictionary} An event in the external world brought about by the immediate agency or the simple volition of God, operating without the use of means capable of being discerned by the senses, and designed to authenticate the divine commission of a religious teacher and the truth of his message. It is an occurrence at once above nature and above man. It shows the intervention of a power that is not limited by the laws either of matter or of mind, a power interrupting the fixed laws which govern their movements, a supernatural power.



       The Miracles of Jesus












Five thousand people are fed






Four thousand people are fed












A woman’s bleeding is healed






A paralytic is healed






A lame man is healed






Peter's mother-in-law’s fever removed






A shriveled hand is restored






Centurion's servant healed of paralysis






A deaf and mute man is healed






A bent over woman is healed






A man with dropsy is healed






A man's severed ear is restored






Official's son’s fever is cured






Leprosy Healed






A leper is healed 






Ten lepers are healed












Calming a storm and the sea






Laws of Nature






Walking on water






Cursing of the fig tree


11:12-14, 20-24




Water turned into wine






A coin in a fish's mouth






Raising the Dead






Jairus's daughter raised from the dead


5:22-24, 35-43




A widow's son is raised from the dead






Lazarus is raised from the dead






Demon Possession






Demons sent into the pigs






A mute demon possessed man healed






A boy with an evil spirit is healed






A girl is freed from a demon






An evil spirit is sent out of a man






A mute demoniac is healed







Blindness Healed






Blind Bartimaeus receives sight






Two blind men have sight restored






A blind man sees at Bethsaida






A man born blind receives his sight












First miraculous catch of fish






Second miraculous catch of fish







A. Feeding

Five thousand people are fed

Matthew 14:15-21  Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”  [16] But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”  [17] They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.”  [18] And he said, “Bring them here to me.”  [19] Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.  [20] And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over.  [21]  And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Symbolism: Jesus’ miracle of providing ample physical food for thousands of people, is a metaphor demonstrating that all we need for our physical and spiritual development is the Word of God.

Luke 4:4  But Jesus answered him, saying, "It is written, 'man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.'

John 6:51  I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.

B. Healings

A paralytic is healed

Matthew 9:2 Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you."  [3]  And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, "This Man blasphemes!" [4]  But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts? [5]  For which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Arise and walk'? [6]  But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins"—then He said to the paralytic, "Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house." [7]  And he arose and departed to his house. [8]  Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men. 

Symbolism:  This miracle demonstrates several things. (1) That Jesus has power over disease, disability and infirmities of all varieties (2) That Jesus has the power to forgive sin, which he did in person when he was alive on earth, and which he did through his death on the cross for those who believers who came after.

C. Leprosy Healed

A man is healed of leprosy

Luke 5:12-13  And it happened when He was in a certain city, that behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean."  [13] Then He put out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." Immediately the leprosy left him.

Symbolism: Leprosy is to the body, as sin is to the soul. It totally infects and disfigures the soul. By healing the leper’s debilitating disease, Jesus shows that no disease (or sin) is beyond Jesus’ ability to heal.  As the man’s leprosy was totally eradicated and his skin returned to it’s normal clean state, so our sins (regardless of how bad they are) can be totally eradicated by the blood of Jesus and our souls are cleaned and restored to their original state of purity if we repent of those sins. 

D. Weather

Calming a storm and the sea

Matthew 8:23-27  Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him.  [24] And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep.  [25] Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!"  [26] But He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.  [27] So the men marveled, saying, "Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"

Symbolism: This miracle demonstrates that Jesus has power over not only human problems, but over all of nature as well. Healing a man is one thing, but commanding the wind and sea to be calm is quite another. This miracle shows Jesus’ unlimited power over all things.

Matthew 28:18  And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.


E. Laws of Nature

Walking on Water /Cursing a fig tree/Water into wine/Coin in fish

Mark 6:47-51  Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land.  [48] Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by.  [49] And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out;  [50] for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid."  [51]  Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled.

Symbolism: Jesus has already shown us his power to multiply food, his power over disease of all types, his power over weather, now he takes it to the next level and shows his power over the law of gravity. Let that sink in – the laws that govern the universe can be overridden effortlessly by the son of God. Who else could possibly defy the laws of science other that the one who designed the laws in the first place?

F. Raising the Dead

Lazarus is raised from the Dead

John 11:17-44  So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days.  … And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.  …  [21] Now Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.  [22] But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You."  [23] Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."  [24] Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."  [25]  Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live[26] And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"  [27] She said to Him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world."  …  [34] And He said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to Him, "Lord, come and see."  [35] Jesus wept.  [36] Then the Jews said, "See how He loved him!"  … [38] Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.  [39] Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, "Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days."  [40] Jesus said to her, "Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?[41] Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me[42]  And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me."  [43]  Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!"  [44] And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go."  


This miracle showed Jesus’ power over death, a power that no one in this world has (not even doctors can cure death).  But this miracle was done not only to show Jesus’ power over physical death, the more important lesson for the people (and us) to learn is that Jesus has the power to grant eternal life AFTER one’s death.

u This miracle is quite illustrative, because Jesus explains several reasons for doing this miracle (review  underlined verses above).

G. Demon Possession

A man has many demons removed

Mark 5:1-20  Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes.  [2] And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,  [3] who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains,  [4] because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him.  [5] And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.  [6] When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.  [7] And he cried out with a loud voice and said, "What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.[8] For He said to him,  "Come out of the man, unclean spirit!"  [9] Then He asked him, "What is your name?" And he answered, saying, "My name is Legion; for we are many.[10] Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.  [11]  Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains.  [12] So all the demons begged Him, saying, "Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.[13] And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.  [14] So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened.  [15] Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.  [16] And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine.  [17] Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.  [18] And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him.  [19] However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, "Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.[20] And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.

Symbolism: In this miracle, Jesus shows several things: t1u demons and even Satan himself are under Jesus’ control and cannot do anything without his permission [v13]. t2u Demons strength mean little to Jesus [v4] – his strength is far superior because it is not a physical strength but a spiritual strength which supercedes all things.  t3u Even demons declare that Jesus is the Son of God [v7]   t4u Demons know that they are under God’s control [v7]. t5u Jesus has the power to totally eradicate demons and even Satan himself [v15].  t6u Jesus needs faithful believers to declare what God has done for them and teach others about the plan of salvation – hopefully they will marvel, just as the healed man did. 


H. Blindness Healed

A blind man has his sight restored

Luke 18:35-43  Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging.  [36] And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant.  [37] So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by.  [38] And he cried out, saying, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"  [39]  Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"  [40] So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him,  [41] saying, "What do you want Me to do for you?" He said, "Lord, that I may receive my sight."  [42] Then Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has made you well."  [43] And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

Symbolism:  Jesus not only has the power to heal physical blindness, but more significantly, His word has the power to heal spiritual blindness, that affliction of the soul that causes men to treasure worldly things to the exclusion of spiritual things.

u Just as physical blindness is a significant disability which robs a person of many of the joys of life in the here and now, spiritual blindness robs a person of a a joyful eternal life in the hereafter.

u The ironic thing is that while there is no cure for physical blindness, there is a cure for spiritual blindness – God’s Word.

I. Abundance

An abundance of fish are caught

Luke 5:3-11  Then He (Jesus) got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.  [4] When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."  [5] But Simon answered and said to Him, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net."  [6] And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.  [7] So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.  [8] When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!"  [9] For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken;  [10] and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men."  [11] So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.

Symbolism:  The abundance of fish can signify several things – t1u the abundant and overflowing blessings that are given in the present and promised in the future for all true and faithful Christians. t2u These abundant blessings are only attainable by those who put their trust in Jesus and obey his commands. (e.g. Peter’s obedience in v5)   t3u the vast number of fish represent the vast number of people that the apostles would directly and indirectly influence for Christ. More souls than they could have imagined in all corners of the globe would turn to Christ because of their efforts in spreading the gospel. They truly would become “fishers of men”



Jesus has demonstrated though these varied miracles that he has power over: chemistry, botany, zoology, human physiology, meteorology, astronomy, the laws of nature, death and all forms of evil. That pretty much covers it all, doesn’t it?

These miracles should teach us that Jesus has power over all things,

Matthew 28:18  And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

Psalm 24:1  The earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.