The Miracles of Jesus in
(See Part 1 for the pairing of the Parables)
The first sign is the Marriage in Cana of Galilee (John 2:1‑11) and the last the Draught of Fishes (John 21:1‑14) Here is a comparison of the two...
John 2:1‑11 Marriage in Cana
John 21:1‑14 Draught of Fishes.
The first sign was on "the third day". If the words are taken literally as they stand, we immediately think of Hos 6:2 "After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight". This suggests the day when Israel shall be delivered, when the anti‑typical Joseph shall be revealed to His brethren, and this is the "day" when the wedding takes place, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. On the other hand if this is the third day in connection with the other days which precede in the first chapter, then this would be the seventh day really and here again depicting the Millennial Sabbath. Again both Jesus was called and His disciples to the marriage. Will not this be the case in that far greater marriage to come? And if they run out of wine, will it not be our Lord Himself who will pour them out the wine, yes the wine of joy, wine on the lees, well refined. John the Baptist in the first chapter could only point to him, but here in this first sign we read that by it He "manifested forth His glory". Further although the water was for the purifying of the Jews, a sordid reminder of the legal side of their religion, the transformation was into wine that maketh glad the heart of God and man.
Now what of the last sign, the Draught of Fishes. Well if in the first sign our Lord manifested forth His glory, here He manifested Himself, this having taken place after His resurrection. So what He came to do at His first advent He will accomplish at His Second. In the sequence of the signs, it follows the seventh, the raising of Lazarus. All is as it were wheels within wheels, one picture often being superimposed upon another. Nicodemus was attracted by the first miracle (John 3:2) and our Lord referred him to the story of the rebirth of the nation as shewn in Ezekiel 37. This sign however is preceded by the story of the doubt of Thomas "except I shall see…the print of the nails..." (John 20:25) a true picture of those in the day to come who "will look upon Him whom they have pierced…" (Zech:12:10). Regarding the number of fishes:153, much could be said on this point, as this has exercised the minds of many students of the Bible down through the years. That it has a meaning, or more than one meaning goes without saying.
The second pair of signs are the second and the seventh, the Nobleman's son (4:46‑50) and the raising of Lazarus (11:1‑44) here once again there is an echo of Hos:6:1‑3 for in John 4:43 it says "now after two days" and in John 11:6‑7 it says "He abode two days. . . after that saith He to the disciples, let us go into Judea again". Once again we see the 2000 years of Israel's death as a nation.
Here in the case of the Nobleman's son, there is a picture of Israel at the point of death, but in the seventh sign we read that "Lazarus is dead", even so at the beginning of our Lord's ministry Israel should have been in a position of asking for healing, but when the sign of Lazarus was given, this was saying that it was too late, resurrection alone would be the only hope, and so it is followed by the quotation once again of that all‑important passage in Isaiah 6:10. This again is a reminder of Rom 11:15 "if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?" or Hos 6:2 "in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight." A further link with the history of Israel as a nation is given in the story of the raising of Lazarus, where in verse 17 it says that he had "lain in the grave four days already" although the Lord had waited "two days still in the place where He was". It would seem that as this too is a "sign" then the four days may very well represent the 4000 years of Israel's impotence from Sinai to their full restoration especially when compared with the two days of Hosea 6:2. Our Lord came to Israel at the end of the first two days, even as he could have gone to raise Lazarus at the end of two days, but when he came to Israel it was only a remnant that received Him whereas the deliverances of the nation depends on their repentance as a whole. Then again there is much in this chapter about the Glory of God. The sickness of Lazarus was for the Glory of God (11:4) and again in verse 40 Jesus said to Martha that if she would believe she should see the "Glory of God". How true all this is with a dispensational viewpoint and look into the future when Israel will indeed see this Glory as Ezekiel and other O.T. prophets have indicated. Furthermore the statement of verse 40 was actually fulfilled in one who "did believe", a prototype of the nation, for when Stephen was brought before the Council, "he being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up into heaven, and saw the 'glory of God'". (Acts 7:55)
Also note the particular force of our Lord's words in verse 25, "I am the resurrection, and the life" for this is a truth which is echoed and expanded by the apostle Paul in 1 Thess 4. for to the dead believer Christ is the Resurrection, and to the believer who is alive at His coming He is the Life. Also in considering Lazarus as a type of the nation of Israel, what pathos and deep sympathy and understanding to say nothing of the power of Divine love is revealed in the shortest verse in the Bible, "Jesus wept" and in the words which follow "Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him". Cannot it be seen here the reflection of the father falling on the neck of the Prodigal Son, or Joseph of old revealing himself to his brethren. But it is time to look at the next pair of signs.
The third sign is the healing of the impotent Man (John 5:1‑47) and this is closely allied to the sixth sign the healing of the man born blind (John 9). In both the subject is "sin" even as in the previous two the subject was "death". Here again in both there is a pool, a long standing case, the Sabbath day and Jerusalem the place. In the case of the impotent man in John 5:5 that he had had his infirmity for 38 years. Surely this reference alone should be sufficient to realize that here again is a reference to the nation of Israel, for was not this the exact period of the wanderings of the Children of Israel (Deut 2:14) and all because of the sin of unbelief, the subject of this very sign. But to this man, cut off from aionian life comes the word of power, "Arise..." and he was made whole and that on the Sabbath. It was because of our Lord's works on the Sabbath (a type of the Millennial Age) that the Jews raised such opposition to Him. Here, therefore, is represented the future restoration of Israel as also in the sixth sign. For in the antitypical Sabbath when Israel is delivered, of which this is a type then indeed the spiritual meaning of the Sabbath and of the laws of the Old Testament will be seen and acted upon, and the whole nation will be given power to carry out God's injunction, "What does the Lord require of thee but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God" or God requires "mercy and not sacrifice". It is therefore not apparent why this miracle or sign took place at the Pool of Bethesda. "Bethesda", meaning "house of mercy". Here is an impotent man healed on the Sabbath, in the sixth sign a blind man also on the Sabbath. In Luke 13 a woman loosed from her infirmity again on the Sabbath. Oh! what a day that will be, the coming Millennial Age when the deaf shall be made to hear, the blind to see, the graves opened and the dead shall hear the same voice that awakened Lazarus, when they shall taste with joy the new wine in the Father's Kingdom and the 153 fishes shall all be safely gathered to the shore.
Also in these two signs reference is made to the testimony of Moses (5:45‑47 &9:29) "Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me" our Lord said, and the 38 years of wilderness wandering would have ended. Instead the sixth sign shows that because of unbelief blindness total and complete was Israel's portion. Looking more particularly at this sixth sign we see that in this case the man was told to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam (John 9:7) which we are told means "Sent". Continually throughout the N.T. we read that Christ was the "Sent One" of God (John 3:34‑36; 6:38‑40:7:16). Israel's sin being the rejection of this Sent One and their salvation being dependent upon receiving Him. There is so much in this sign which could be dwelt upon, and indeed the same can be said of all the others, but one further point could be made before passing on to the next pair. Once the blind man was healed the verses which follow show the growing appreciation of the Person of the Lord which the blind man came to enjoy, and here again as we consider what happened to Joseph's father and brethren in the O.T. coupled and enlarged upon by the Prophets later, we can hear the echo of those wonderful words "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation." (Isa 25:9)
So to the last pair of signs, the fourth and fifth, namely, the Feeding of the Five Thousand (6:1‑15) and Jesus walking on the sea (6:16‑25). The first point to notice is that they both took place after our Lord had ascended into a mountain, and are indicative of the way in which the restoration of the nation of Israel will be accomplished. As with Israel of old it was the need for food which led to the eventual revelation and identity of the one who was the provider for all their needs so Christ takes five barley loaves and two small fishes from a young lad and in the exercise of his wondrous power make them sufficient to feed 5,000 men in addition to women and children (Matt 14:21). Now note that it was because of this wondrous miracle that these men were able to say "This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world" and again an echo of "Lo, this is our God.....". Then the narrative goes on to say that "When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him king, He departed again into a mountain Himself alone." Yes, because it was not the will of God for Him to be made king at that time, but rather that He should be "delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God and be crucified and slain" that God might raise Him up again and that thus He might "make reconciliation for the iniquity of His people." Proceeding with the narrative the disciples went over the sea, and then when night drew on a great storm arose. "It was now dark" it says "and Jesus was not come to them". Then they saw "Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship and they were afraid". Does a picture emerge here? Will it not be during a time of great trouble, when the four winds of heaven will strive upon the great sea and bring about the day of Jacob's trouble that our Lord will suddenly appear, yes walking upon the sea of troubled humanity in order, as it says, that "Jacob shall be saved out of it". (Rev 17, Dan 7, Psalms 97:98, and 99 etc.) Note that this occurs in antitype after His actual resurrection, when "All power is given" unto Him "in heaven and in earth" and therefore it is that we read of Him walking upon the water. (see Job 9:8) Of course the disciples were afraid, but the words of our Lord spoken with calmness and assurance "It is I; be not afraid" which provide a link with the words actually spoken after His resurrection were enough to allay all their fears. There is an air of beautiful serenity and peace in the words, "Then they willingly received Him into the ship; and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went." (v:21) Also it does seem most significant that this miracle or sign is followed by our Lord's discourse on the bread of life, with its reference to manna and the wilderness, and setting himself forth as that true bread that cometh down from heaven and giveth life to the world, when after His actual resurrection, he met the two disciples on the road to Emmaus he began at Moses and all the prophets and expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself. We too as we search the Scriptures to see if these things be so, can oft‑times testify to the fact that our hearts burn within us as he talks with us "by the way" and as He opens them to us even as to these two disciples.