Recognizing the Messiah
Jesus of Nazareth was not the only man who traveled around the countryside preaching sermons and instructing the people in the Way of God. How, then, did his followers come to know he was the Christ? They knew because of the prophecies of the Old Testament and the miracles that Jesus worked when he walked among them.
What are the meanings of “Messiah” and “Christ”?
Jesus' identity was established at his baptism. When he arose from the waters of the Jordan, the heavens opened, “and the Spirit as a dove [descended] upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased’” (Mark 1:11). At this moment, Jesus was proclaimed the Messiah.Signs and Miracles
It is recorded that Jesus performed thirty-five miracles; of these, seven were “sign miracles” (those miracles that were signs that Jesus was the Christ) as recorded in the Gospel of John, Chapters 1–11. The first of the sign miracles — and therefore the most important one — was the miracle at the wedding feast at Cana.
Jesus and Mary were at a wedding celebration when the party ran out of wine. Jesus changed water into wine, performing his first miracle. This transformation illustrated that a Christian's life on earth is like a wedding feast, full of bounty and joy as well as community — the coming together of loved ones. The running out of wine is a symbol of the hurdles that life puts before us.
The honeymoon that comes after the wedding represents our eventual return to God's presence. In more religious terms, Jesus compared the soul to being the bride of Christ.
The other six of Jesus' sign miracles were the following:
Healing a royal official's son
Healing a paralytic man who had been unable to walk for thirty-eight years
Feeding 5,000 people with only five loaves of bread and two fish
Walking on the sea to calm his disciples, who were frightened that their boat was sinking
Healing a blind man by placing mud mixed with his saliva over his eyes and telling him to wash in a pool
Raising Lazarus from the dead
The miracles demonstrate both Christ's compassion and the power of the living God. They are potent symbols that demonstrate how Jesus helped his followers understand what he was doing. His miracles helped persuade the disciples that Jesus was God's son on earth. Raising Lazarus from the dead won over many religious leaders, who began to follow Jesus and his teachings.
Performing miracles sometimes led to trouble with the authorities. When Jesus healed the blind man at Siloam, the Pharisees accused him of breaking God's commandment to keep the Sabbath as a day of rest.