Miracles and Jesus’ Proclamation of the Kingdom of God -- By: Mark R. Saucy
BSac 153:611 (Jul 96) p. 281
Miracles and Jesus’ Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
[Mark R. Saucy is Professor of Systematic Theology, Kiev Theological Seminary, Kiev, Ukraine.]
The significance of miracles in the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth has been discussed frequently. Peter clearly saw the value of miracles in affirming the faith of the faithful. He described Jesus as “a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs” (Acts 2:22; cf. 10:38). Later the Gospel writers referred to the significance of His miracles to both believers and unbelievers.1 In modern times a number of interpreters agree that Jesus worked wonders,2 but they remain divided on the
BSac 153:611 (Jul 96) p. 282
significance of the miracles for what Jesus was seeking to do.3
In contrast to scholars who are critically selective of the Gospel data, this writer contends that the miracles of Jesus are revelatory deeds of the eschatological kingdom He preached and that in the Gospels they provoked people to make decisions regarding Him.
The Gospel writers knew little of modern notions of the “laws of nature” so that taking miracles as the abrogation or acceleration of such laws was not meaningful or necessary for them.4 From their perspective the miraculous deeds of Jesus and His disciples are defined more by their effect on those who witnessed them. The miracles were the extraordinary actions that evoked astonishment and awe in the people of first-century Palestine (Acts 2:22).5 The Synoptic Gospels naturally designate them therefore as evidences of δυνάμις. They were “mighty acts” and “manifestations of power.”6
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Word and Deed in Jesus’ Presentation of the Kingdom
The early church did not think of Jesus’ miracles as mere tangents or appendages to His ministry. Peter, for example, told his audience in Acts 10:36 and 38 that they knew “the word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ…[and] how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by ...
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