Jesus' Greatest Miracle?

 During His time on earth, Jesus performed a total of thirty-seven miracles. These are recorded in the gospel accounts written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Of the thirty-seven, are there certain miracles that were more important or more significant than others? Is there one miracle that stands out as the greatest miracle performed by Jesus? The answer can be both yes, and no.

Each miracle performed by Jesus was done to not only show His power over natural law, but to teach His disciples. These miracles were recorded in the Bible so they could also teach us, nearly two thousand years later. In this way each miracle story is unique and very important in helping us to understand Jesus, who He is, and what He was trying to teach the disciples, and indeed us. While every miracle is certainly important, can we pick just one? Perhaps the gospel writers did this for us. 

Of the thirty-seven miracles recorded in the gospels, nineteen of them are only listed in one of the four gospels. Seven miracles are recorded in two of the gospel accounts, while another ten are recorded in three of the gospels. Only one however, is recorded in all four of the gospels. This miracle is the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand men.
As mentioned, this story is unique in that it is the only one of the thirty-seven miracles performed by Jesus that is recorded in all four Gospels. Is this just an odd fact, or does it signify this miracle has special significance and should therefore receive special attention? I find it hard to believe that anything in the Bible happens by chance or without a higher purpose. 

Whatever the case, there are several messages which can be gleaned from this story. The first is to note that Jesus had gained a very large following. On this day five thousand men had left their homes, jobs and responsibilities to come out and listen to the teachings of Jesus. Given human nature, a great many of these people were probably there in hopes of witnessing one of the miracles Jesus was so well known for. Jesus would not disappoint.
Denarius – This was a Roman coin, made of silver, which was used extensively throughout the Roman empire. It first came into use in 211 B.C. and remained in use up until approximately 244 A.D.
Jesus sees the large crown and turns to Phillip and asked how they are to feed these people. Phillip gives a very practical answer saying that even two hundred denarii would not be enough to feed this multitude. In that day, a denarius would have been equivalent to a day’s wages. Not even two hundred days wages could have bought enough food. Jesus knew this, but he wanted to show the disciples that he had no need of money to fulfill the needs of His followers.
John wrote his gospel in Greek and the term he used for the crowd of people is gender specific (men). This would mean he had only included the men and not the women and children. While there is no way to be certain, it is certainly possible the crowd was as large as fifteen thousand people.
Andrew, Peter’s brother, then tells Jesus that they have five loaves of bread and two fish. Andrew did not see this as an answer but was more likely mentioning these to show just how desperate their situation was. Jesus did not see this as a detriment, but as an opportunity. Jesus was about to show His disciples, as well as His followers, that He could supply their needs with very little.

Jesus took the fish and bread from the youth. When it was all distributed the crowd ate all they wanted and there was excess. Jesus here shows we should not waste, even when we have an excess and even when we did not pay for the items. Jesus ordered the leftovers to be gathered “that nothing be lost”. In all they gathered up twelve baskets of leftover bread when they started with just five loaves.
Jesus used someone and their resources that everyone else overlooked and thought of as insignificant. The boy, who goes unnamed, had very little, but we must assume he surrendered it to Jesus when asked. It seemed like very little, but was more than enough in the hands of Jesus. What do we have that can become something special in the hands of Jesus?
There is a potential significance that the number of baskets was twelve. Some believe the twelve baskets of bread is a direct reference to the twelve tribes of Israel.  – In the time of Moses God feed the twelve tribes of Israel with manna from heaven. Here Jesus feeds the multitude of followers with bread multiplied from five loaves.

The people, when they saw what had happened, began to call Jesus a prophet. It is highly probable they were making a reference to scripture and a statement made by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15.
“Yahweh your God will raise up to you a prophet from among you, of your brothers, like me. You shall listen to him.” – Deut 18:15
In the next verse Jesus sees that the people are ready to take Him away and crown Him king. This was certainly not His plan and He withdrew to the mountains to be alone.

Archaeological DiscoveryA church was erected at the location where the miracle of the loaves and fishes is believed to have taken place. The church is known as the “Church of the Multiplication”. The first church known to be built here was constructed in 350 A.D. – The church was significantly expanded in 480 A.D. The enlargement included the addition of mosaic floors showing a basket of loaves and two fish. The church was mostly destroyed in 614 A.D.  and the site of the church was then lost until 1888. Full excavations took place in 1932 and a new church was inaugurated in 1984.


This miracle is special in a number of ways. It shows Jesus is ready willing and able to supply the needs of His followers. These needs include not only their spiritual needs, but their earthly day-to-day needs as well. He can not only meet these needs but meets them in abundance. It also shows a possible direct reference to an Old Testament scripture and teaches us to not be wasteful with the gifts and blessings supplied by Jesus. There is a great deal to be learned by all of us from this miracle, but is it the greatest miracle Jesus Performed.

Can the feeding of five thousand, or even the potentially fifteen thousand, compare to raising someone from the dead? Restoring a blind man's sight, or casting out a demon? A case can be made for any of these miracles, but the feeding of the five thousand is in a unique setting. Jesus is meeting the everyday needs of His followers, He is feeding them. Throughout the gospel Jesus has meals with His disciples and with His followers. The breaking of bread is very significant and, in this case, Jesus shows He can use very little to help a great many. Is he also perhaps showing just how much we can do for others, even though we believe we may have very little to offer? With the help of Jesus, what we have, as little as it might be, can be multiplied and become far more significant. When combined, all of the various messages and teaching of this miracle make it very important, and very relatable to many. In its simple message of providing for others, Jesus performs one of His greatest miracles.


Post is taken in large part from the book "New Testament Miracles" which is available from Amazon in eBook, paperback or hardcover. 

New Testament Miracles - The 37 miracles of Jesus.

New Book Release

During His earthly ministry Jesus performed thousands of miracles. From curing all types of diseases, to
calming a storm, to raising people from the dead, Jesus showed His power over and over again. The writers of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, recorded 37 specific miracles out of the thousands performed. These were selected to give us a better understanding of who Jesus is as well as demonstrate His power and authority. Each miracle has multiple lessons to teach and only by close examination can you see everything Jesus was attempting to teach his followers two thousand years ago, and today.

This book puts the 37 miracles of Jesus in chronological order. Each entry shows the scripture, where the miracle took place, and gives a commentary on the meaning and lessons of the miracle. There are also interesting facts inserted including archaeological discoveries that help put the miracle stories in a proper context. The text also examines possible contradictions in the miracle stories and shows these are not what they seem.

What more can we learn from Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead? Why did Jesus delay in performing miracles for some of those who asked? Get a new perspective on the accounts of all 37 miracles performed by Jesus. The miracles of the New Testament showed Jesus' power during His time on earth, and they still hold power for us today.

This new book is available as an eBook, Paperback, or Hardcover. Which is the only miracle recorded in all four of the gospel accounts? In which city did Jesus perform most of His recorded miracles? How many miracles did Jesus perform that are not recorded in the Bible? How many Americans believe in miracles? Do medical doctors believe in miracles? Find the answers to all of these questions as well as the deeper meaning of the Miracles of Jesus. 

Saint Mark - Uniquely qualified to write the Gospel

Saint Mark wrote the earliest of the four Gospel accounts. Most scholars believe Saint Peter was the source for Mark's Gospel and there is very little reason to doubt this theory. However, far from being simply a stenographer for Peter, Mark was uniquely qualified to write a gospel account of the life of Jesus. Mark's life is anything but ordinary as it intertwines with both the Apostles and Jesus himself. From being an eyewitness, to traveling with the Great Missionary to founding a leading school in Christianity, Mark's life was truly remarkable.

St. Peter and St. Mark
Mark was born in approximately 12 A.D. or 15 years after Jesus. The family lived in what is modern day Libya. While Mark was still an infant his family began to be persecuted and lived under constant threat. To protect his family, Mark's father packed up their things and moved the family to the region of Cana. Sometime shortly after arriving in Cana, tragedy struck the family when Mark's father passed away. In first century Israel a family without a male head of household was at a great disadvantage and just a step away from poverty and living a life of servitude. 

At this point a relative of the family steps in to help. The relative is Peter, future apostle of Jesus. Peter took charge of Mark and made certain the family had food, shelter and that Mark received an education. Peter, having spent his time in the back breaking profession of fishing, may have wanted better for Mark. It is clear Peter thought a great deal of Mark. In 1 Peter 5:13 Peter calls Mark 'my son'. Peter was certainly not a wealthy man, but he was apparently a successful fisherman who could afford a family home in Capernaum, as well as help the family of Mark.

When Mark was just a youth of fourteen, he would be a witness to a truly remarkable event. Early church tradition holds that Mark had been hired as a server at a wedding in Cana. This may have been because Peter and a number of his companions had been invited to the wedding. Also at the wedding was a mother and her son named Jesus. At this wedding Jesus would perform His first miracle when He turned ordinary water into a magnificent wine. Remarkably, Mark was there to see this first miracle of Jesus.

While we have no information on what Mark did over the next few years, it is possible he was traveling with Jesus, at least on a part time basis. Tradition holds that when Jesus sent out the seventy-two disciples to spread the good news, Mark was one of them so Jesus was somewhat aware of Mark. The disciples were sent out in pairs, and with Mark being barely twenty years old, it is likely he would have been teamed with an older disciple, but we have no idea of who this could have been. In the Gospel of Luke, we are told these seventy-two disciples traveled to the ends of the earth, healing the sick, and preaching the gospel of Jesus. Here we see Mark was far from a stenographer, he was an active participant in the earthly ministry of Jesus. It should not be overlooked that Luke said these men, including Mark, performed miracles in the name of Jesus. 

Only a short time later it is believed by many that Mark was an eyewitness to the passion of Jesus. It is believed Mark may have been referring to himself when he wrote about the man who ran off into the woods naked. After the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the story of Mark goes silent for nearly a decade. At some point Mark travels into Egypt to the city of Alexandria. It is believed Mark remained in Alexandria for up to three years before returning to Jerusalem. It seems apparent that during his time in Alexandria, Mark became attached to the city and her people as he would return here many times and he would eventually pay a very high price for his preaching in the city.

Between the years of 46 and 50 A.D. Mark was in Jerusalem and then Antioch with both Paul and Barnabus. We know from the Acts of the Apostles that Mark travelled at least for a time with Saint Paul on his first missionary journey. Historians are uncertain of the reason, but at some point, Mark makes the decision to leave the group. This would later cause a major rift between Paul and Barnabus which was so severe they would go their separate ways over a disagreement about including Mark in a new mission trip. We do know that Paul and Mark reconciled as while Paul was in prison in Rome, he asked for Mark to come and visit him.  In the meantime, Mark had some major work to accomplish.

In approximately 50 A.D. Mark returned to Alexandria and would be made Bishop of the city/region. During this time many credit Mark with founding the Catechetical School of Alexandria. This school would become the premier institution for educating early Christian leaders. The school taught theology, Christian Philosophy, Mathematics, Greek and Roman Literature as well as Logic and the Arts. The school wanted to produce well rounded and well-educated leaders. It was believed this was an absolute necessity given the task at hand and the resistance most, if not all, of the graduates would encounter. Just some of the graduates of the school include Athenagoras, Clement, Jerome, Didymus and Origen the great. 

The school was believed to actually be a part of the great library of Alexandria. This was no ordinary school. One example of the advanced nature of the school was its acceptance of blind students. These students were given lessons carved into wood for them to use/study. This was some 1,500 years before the invention of Braille.

Mark is given credit for bringing Christianity to Egypt as well as founding the Coptic Church. He remained in Alexandria for over a decade before traveling to Rome. Here he would be reunited with Saint Peter and with the help and guidance of Peter, Mark would write his gospel. Form here Mark toured the churches of Asia Minor before returning to the area of Ephesus. 

Saint Mark
While it cannot be confirmed, it is believed Mark once again returned to Rome, this time traveling with Timothy. The two, possibly along with Saint Luke, went to Rome to visit and attend to Saint Paul who was in prison in Rome for the second time. Again, it cannot be confirmed, but many scholars believe Mark may have been with Paul when the Great Missionary was martyred. 

After Paul was executed in 67 or 68 A.D. Mark would return to Alexandria. At some point in 68 or 69 A.D. Mark would attempt to stop a Pagen parade in Alexandria. A mob took hold of Mark, bound him and drug him through the streets of Alexandria for the entire day. When it was found Mark was still alive, they drug him through the streets for a second day. Mark eventually died as a result of the abuse and his body was recovered by his followers.

Mark's Gospel is often believed to be inspired by Saint Peter, and this is certainly possible and is most certainly true to some point. However, Mark's life had been intertwined with not only the life and ministry of Jesus, but with several of the great early Christina leaders including Timothy, Barnabas, Luke, Paul and certainly Peter. Mark knew these apostles, traveled with them, and founded a school to help expand the early church and brought Christianity to Egypt. From witnessing the first miracle of Jesus, to being sent out with the seventy-two, to witnessing the passion of Jesus, Mark was uniquely qualified to write a gospel account of the life of Jesus. 

Potential Timeline of St. Mark's Life

12 a.d. - Mark born in what is modern day Libya

26 a.d. - Jesus begins ministry with wedding at Cana

32 a.d. - Jesus sends out 70 disciples

33 a.d. - Jesus is crucified - witnessed by Mark

41 - 44 a.d. - Mark goes to Alexandria

45 - 47 a.d. - Mark in Jerusalem with Paul and Barnabus

49 - 50 a.d. - Paul's first missionary journey, Mark travels with him

50 - 61 a.d. - Mark Bishop of Alexandria - founded school

61 - 62 a.d. - Mark with Peter in Rome - writes Gospel

63 - 66 a.d. - Tours churches of Asia Minor

66 - 67 a.d. - In Rome with St. Paul

67 - 68 a.d. - Mark returns to Alexandria

68 - 69 a.d. - Mark is killed by mob in Alexandria


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