Miracles of John’s Gospel

Note: Phil Russell has pointed out an interesting suggestion by Trench  (1894) on the seven miracles of John’s Gospel, reported as a footnote in Ada Habershon’s book on Miracles, pg 194. Any thoughts? Does it work?

A. 1. Water into Wine
Setting- meal, by the Lord at the hand of others.

B. 2. Raising up of the nobleman’s son 
The Lord declined to visit though son dying. (showing the power of his word)

C. 3. Healing of the impotent man
Pool of Bethesda, on Sabbath and criticised by the authorities. Long standing disability. The Lord not known immediately to the recipient.

D. 4. Feeding of the five thousand.

C’. 5. Healing of the blind man
Pool of Siloam, on Sabbath and criticised by the authorities. long standing disability. The Lord not known immediately to the recipient.

B’. 6. Raising of Lazarus
The Lord declined to return before Lazarus died.

A’. 7. The great draught of fishes
Setting – meal, by the Lord at the hand of others



5 thoughts on “Miracles of John’s Gospel”

  1. I love this. I think it has a lot of merit and teaches a great deal about the themes of rebirth and resurrection. My only question is, what about Jesus walking on water? That, not the catching of the fishes, is usually considered one of John’s seven miracles in the Book of Signs (first half of John). The seven miracles parallel seven discourses. However, it just seems like these seven are too well matched to be coincidental (John used chiasms everywhere), and Jesus walking on the water doesn’t fit the themes of the others. There are obviously stories that are not considered the signs or miracles presented by John (such as cleansing the temple and the woman taken in adultery), but Jesus walking on water is so obviously miraculous that I’m having difficulty placing it in the context of John’s structure.

    1. Hi Audrey
      One thought – In John 6 the miraculous walking on the sea of Galilee is set between the miracle of feeding the five thousand and the explanation of that miracle. The two events may seem quite separate and different things but the two ideas are brought together in Deuteronomy 30:11-14 (ESV) 11 “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 14 But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.” Romans 10 explains this as a prophecy of Jesus as the Word made flesh who was raised from the dead and ascended to heaven. I think the miracle of walking on water is an enacted parable of the eventual rule of Christ over the sea of nations.

  2. I believe there are Eight Signs in John. As eight they do form a chiasmus. There are seven before the Resurrection of Jesus, and one after it, like the eight lamps gradually lit in households at the Feast of Dedication, or Lights:
    A 1. Changing ‘no wine’ to abundant wine at Cana in Galilee, (2:1-11)
    B 2. Healing the son of the official from Capernaum from a
    deadly disease, (4:46-54
    C 3. Healing the man paralytic 38 years at Bethesda pool
    north of the Temple, (5:1-15)
    D 4. Feeding the 5000 beside the sea, (6:5-14)
    D’ 5. Jesus walking on the sea and stilling the storm on the
    sea, (6:16-24)
    C’ 6. Healing the man blind from birth using the Siloam Pool
    south of the Temple, (9:1-7)
    B’ 7. Raising the brother of Mary and Martha, Lazarus, from
    death, in Bethany, (11:1-45)
    A’ 8. Changing ‘no fish’ into abundant fish at the Sea of Tiberias, Galilee, (21:1-11)

  3. It seems to me rather that the miracles escalate (more or less), because the raising of Lazarus seems to be the ultimate climax which was also the final spark that prompted Jesus enemies to plan his death. Jesus showing his power over death (raising Lazarus) is more impressive and important than Jesus showing his power over the laws of nature (feeding 5000).

  4. Craig Fairweather from 6/10/20 is correct-8 signs. However, these are sign stories forming a symmetrical or chiastic pattern that fits perfectly within the overall structure of John. The structure of John is organized around 4 visits Jesus made up to Jerusalem for various Jewish feasts, bookended by a prologue & epilogue (6 sections). The two middle signs (feeding 5k & walking on water-both tests of His disciples faith in Him and His word) are in ch 6 – the structural center of the book. As a side note, there are 3 tests in that chapter about trusting Him and His word(s), a central theme, culminating in Peter saying “to whom shall we go, you have the words…” I also like your ref to Deut 30. The 2nd visit to Jerusalem covers ch 5-6. He goes up to Jerusalem again in secret in ch 7 for the Feast of Booths (ch 7-10 form the first section in the 2nd half). Ch 6 is the center, structurally. There are two other sign stories (not generally considered signs) that fit the pattern though. The death & resurrection (ch 19-20) match with the cleansing of the temple (ch 2), where they ask for a sign of His authority, and he gives them a prediction/prophesy about His death and resurrection – “destroy this temple….” These two corresponding stories/passages are exactly where they need to be to fit the pattern. So, I believe there are 10 sign stories in the chiastic pattern, but it is just a pattern that invites comparison & contrast between passages and helps the reader hone their understanding of the thought flow …

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