What The Signs Said

E. Russell King

The word signs is translated from the Greek word semeion which, according to the Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, means “distinguishing mark, sign; miracle.” This word occurs 77 times (in the noun form) in the New Testament, usually being used to “denote a miraculous or, at least, divine or extraordinary token of an event” (McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia), especially to signify the divinity of Jesus Christ or the working of Jehovah God for the purpose of producing or verifying faith in Jesus Christ and/or His message spoken by Himself or His inspired messengers. However, as Homer Hailey wrote in That You May Believe, p. 113, recording a quote, “The miracles are not the mere proofs of a revelation; they are themselves the revelation.”

The word sign(s) occurs more often in the Gospel According to John (17 times) than in any other Gospel record or epistle or in Revelation. The apostle John states the reason: “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31). That was the purpose of the “signs” when they occurred during the ministry of Jesus, to convince (mostly in vain — John 12:37) those unbelieving and rebellious Jews that He was in fact their long-awaited Messiah. Then, some years later, due to continued unbelief and, perhaps especially, faltering belief (1 John 2:1 8ff; 2 Peter 2:1; Hebrews 10:39), John, through inspiration of the Spirit, deemed it necessary to reaffirm those indisputable signs which said (as stated by Peter) that Jesus of Nazareth was the “... Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know” (Acts 2:22). John chose to use, in his gospel record, seven of the many signs Jesus did in order to reaffirm the divinity of Jesus Christ. These signs enabled His disciples to say, “We have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:69). No honest-of-heart person today will fail to hear that loud and clear message. 

Listen to the all-encompassing declaration of those seven signs which reveal Jesus as the power of the Implementer of the elements of creation: time, force, space and matter (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-3):

Sign 1 — Changing water into wine at a wedding feast to which Jesus was an invited guest (John 2:1-11). This miracle revealed that Jesus had the power to over-ride the element of created matter, circumventing the good, time-consuming process of nature and immediately produce an end product.

Sign 2 — Healing the son of a Capernaum nobleman (John 4:46-54). This miracle revealed that Jesus had power over distance (space) when He said, “Go your way, your son lives,” which the nobleman, after going home, learned was the exact hour when his son was healed.

Sign 3 — Healing a man lame for thirty-eight years (John 5:1-9). This miracle revealed that Jesus had power over time by reversing the bad effects of nature working more than thirty-eight years.

Sign 4—Feeding the five-thousand men plus women and children (John 6:1-14). The message of this miracle is that Jesus has power over quantity of matter and, therefore, is able to provide sufficient physical and spiritual substance according to His promise.

Sign 5 — Walking on water (John 6:16-21). This miracle declared that Jesus had power over the force of gravity and nature in general.

Sign 6 — Giving sight to the man born blind (John 9:1-12). This miracle gives attestation to Jesus’ claim to have power to give light and remove darkness.

Sign 7 — Raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:39-44). No greater message could have been given to confirm Jesus’ claim to be the resurrection and the life. 

These seven signs encompassed the full range of the power of God manifested in Creation, thus saying that Jesus is the Son of the living God (John 6:69). The many other signs and wonders (some recorded, and many not recorded) simply add to this attestation.

In view of the final sign given by John, what life-loving and life-seeking person is it who, upon listening to what these signs said, will not exclaim with Thomas, “My Lord and my God!”? -Rt 5 Box 310A, Keyser, WV 26726.

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