by James T. Bartsch
"Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know -- ...." Acts 4:22
A. Signs, Wonders, and Miracles
1. There are 3 passages that use all three of these terms in the same verse. They are Acts 2:22; 2 Corinthians 12:12; and Hebrews 2:4. What are your preliminary thoughts about what they mean?
2. Frequently the word translated "signs" is the Greek word semeion (4592). Click on the link, look at several of the occurrences, and develop your own tentative definition:
3. Frequently the word translated "wonders" is the Greek word teras (5059). Click on the link, look at several of the occurrences, and develop your own tentative definition:
You will find that this word is frequently linked with another of these 3 words. What is the other word?
4. Frequently the word translated "miracles" is the Greek word dunamis (1411). Click on the link, look at several of the occurrences, and develop your own tentative definition:
5. Before we go any further, we should look at one special-case passage. That passage is 2 Thess. 2:9. It also uses these same three words. But it also adds a fourth word at the very end, literally -- of a lie (pseudos, 5579). How do you account for this twist in meaning? (Hint: you better look at the context before you answer.)
B. The Purpose of Jesus' Signs
1. One of the themes of the Gospel of John is that of "Signs" (semeion, 4592). In fact, "signs" occupy a major purpose in the progress of the book (John 20:30). I believe it is accurate to say that these "signs" are "miracles with a meaning." Another way to say it is that "signs have significance." They are not just random miracles. They have a point to prove. It is our task to discover what that point is.
2. What was the first sign recorded by John? (John 2:11, cf. John 2:1-10)
a. What did this sign manifest? (John 2:11)
b. What was its result? (John 2:11)
3. The Jews questioned Jesus' authority to do what He had done (John 2:18).
a. What did Jesus do that made them so upset (John 2:13-17)?
b. What sign did He give them (John 2:19)?
4. Why did people at the Passover Feast in Jerusalem believe in Jesus' name (John 2:23)?
5. What did the inquiring Nicodemus conclude about Jesus, watching the signs Jesus had been performing (John 3:1-2)?
6. About what concerning the Jewish people did Jesus complain (John 4:47-48)?
a. How did the royal official respond to Jesus (John 4:50)?
b. What was the second sign that John recorded (John 4:54)?
7. Why did a large crowd follow Jesus (John 6:1-2)?
8. When Jesus had fed 5,000 men with 5 barley loaves and two fish (John 6:3-13), what did the people conclude about Jesus (John 6:14)? Were they correct?
9. The next day after this miracle the crowd came to Capernaum looking for Jesus (John 6:22-25). Jesus was critical of them. Why (John 6:26)?
a. What does this tell you about the intended purpose of Jesus' signs?
b. What did the crowd believe was the purpose of a sign (John 6:30)?
10. Jesus finally made an appearance at the Feast of Booths and began to teach (John 7:14-30). The rulers wanted to seie him, but failed to do so. However, many in the crowd believed in Him. Why (John 7:31)?
11. On the Sabbath day, Jesus healed a man born blind (John 9:1-14).
a. What was the argument of the Pharisees (John 9:15-16)?
b. How did others respond (John 9:16)?
12. What was the climactic miracle Jesus performed (John 11:1-44)?
a. Why did Jesus pray what He prayed (John 11:41-42)?
b. What was the reaction of many Jews who had come to comfort Mary (John 11:45)?
c. Others went to report to the Pharisees (John 11:46).
d. What was the fear of the chief priests and Pharisees who convened as the Council (sunedrion, or Sanhedrin, 4892) (John 11:47-48)?
13. Six days before Passover, Jesus returned to the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus (John 12:1-2).
a. A large crowd gathered also at their house. Why (John 12:9)?
b. Unbelievably, the chief priests planned not only to put Jesus to death, but also Lazarus (John 12:10). Why (John 12:11)?
14. The event that we call "The Triumphal Entry" took place (John 12:12-15).
a. What did the people who saw Jesus' resurrection of Lazarus keep doing (John 12:17)?
b. What was the effect of their testimony (John 12:18)?
c. What was the reaction of the Pharisees (John 12:19)?
15. What was the lament of John the Apostle about the people of Israel as a whole (John 12:37)?
a. How did John account for this (John 12:38-41)?
b. Nevertheless many of the rulers believed in Jesus, but they remained silent. Why (John 12:42-43)?
16. What was the Apostle John's statement about what Jesus had done during His ministry (John 20:30)?
a. Why did John record the signs of Jesus that he did record (John 20:31a)?
b. What happens to those believing (John 20:31b)? (This verb "believing," pisteuo, 4100, appears in the Present Tense, meaning it is an ongoing activity.)
17. Are you prepared to assign a reason for Jesus performing all His signs? He performed them so people would believe that He is the ___________, the ______ of God, and that if they are ______________ they will have __________ in His name (John 20:30,31).
(Scripture quotation taken from the NASB 1995)
Posted June 25, 2022