Randy White | June 22, 2023

In the conventional narratives of Christian theology, there exists an overwhelming emphasis on the spiritual realm, which, though undeniably significant, can sometimes overshadow the physical aspects of biblical accounts. This is particularly evident in the interpretation of the miracles of Jesus as presented in the Gospels, specifically in the Synoptics. The traditional approach of Covenant Theology, which also significantly influences evangelicalism, largely spiritualizes Jesus’ miracles, viewing them almost wholly in a spiritual context, obscuring their physical implications and realities.

The miracles of Jesus are often interpreted within the framework of spiritual salvation – Jesus came to die for our sins and provide eternal life in Heaven. While this aspect of Jesus’ ministry is undoubtedly vital, it doesn’t paint the whole picture. The Gospels, particularly the Synoptics, demonstrate a significant emphasis on Jesus’ efforts to display His authority over the physical realm. They serve as clear evidence of His ability to reverse the physical effects of humanity’s curse, fulfilling Jewish expectations of a Messiah who would restore the physical Kingdom.

When one observes the response of the crowd to Jesus’ miracles, their reaction underscores the miracles’ purpose – proving His authority over both the spiritual and physical worlds. The astonishment and admiration that met Jesus’ miracles were not only stirred by the spiritual implications of his acts but also the physical changes that were manifest before their eyes. For example, when Jesus displayed His power over the demonic in Mark 1:21-27, the crowd was “…amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him” (Mk. 1:27).

In recent times, however, with the influence of covenant theology, the Kingdom of God and the miracles of Jesus have been largely spiritualized. Rather than a future physical Kingdom, it has become an “in-your-heart” spiritual Kingdom. This shift has inadvertently transformed the nature of Jesus’ miracles into a series of extraordinary “look what I can do” feats, akin to tricks in a performance. But to view these miracles merely as spectacular feats is to cheapen their significance and ignore the compelling evidence that they provide for Jesus as the promised physical Messiah. At best, the miracles of Christ, under a Covenant view, prove Jesus as Son of God. That is, the One who can save you from your sins rather than the One who can save us from our enemies (the earthly, physical, demonic, and political ones – Luke 1:71).

These miracles were not just random acts of power but were systematic demonstrations of the Kingdom’s reality, where the physical is not an afterthought but an integral part of its manifestation. They were not just about displaying what Jesus could do, but a tangible reassurance of what He will do – restore the Kingdom in its full physical glory.

As you study the miracles of Jesus, it’s crucial that you not only focus on their spiritual significance, but also appreciate their physical implications, highlighting the interconnectedness of the spiritual and physical in the work of Christ. By doing so, you not only gain a more comprehensive understanding of Jesus’ ministry, but also anticipate the fullness of the Kingdom that the Messiah will bring – a Kingdom that is not only spiritually real, but also physically tangible.