And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.
— John 6:2
Today I want to talk to you about miracles and the effect that God’s power has on people’s lives. Throughout our many years of ministry, Denise and I have seen countless miracles, and we learned long ago that miracles always have a profound effect on people! Let me relate to you an example that occurred in the early years of our ministry abroad just after the breakup of the Soviet Union in the year 1991.
During those tumultuous times, that entire region of the world was facing many serious economic struggles. Food supplies were rare; gasoline was almost nonexistent; and medicines and medical supplies were in short supply. Well-trained doctors could diagnose a patient’s sickness, but people remained untreated because no medications were available. In fact, even basic medications such as aspirin were a treasure because they were so hard to obtain.
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In the midst of this dismal state of affairs, Denise and I announced on television that we were going to hold a series of miracle services in Riga, Latvia. These would be our first meetings in Latvia, and we wanted to facilitate a powerful demonstration of God’s power in this city. For two weeks prior to those big meetings, we broadcast advertisements for the miracle services many times a day on television. We had no idea what kind of effect the commercials would have, but we prayed that people would come to the meetings to hear the Gospel, receive a miraculous touch from God, and come to personally know Jesus Christ.
The long-anticipated day finally arrived, and we drove to the city to begin our series of meetings. When we arrived at the large rented auditorium, thousands of people were already in line, waiting to get into the building for the meeting. As Denise and I stood on the stage and looked out over the audience in that large hockey arena, we were stunned to see nearly 8,000 people! Many of these were sick people who had no means of obtaining desperately needed medicines and had therefore turned to the power of God as their only hope for physical healing.
Night after night, we saw mighty miracles occur before our eyes. Blind eyes were opened; epileptics were healed; and deaf ears were unstopped. And the greatest miracle of all was the hundreds of people who came forward to give their lives to Jesus at the conclusion of the meetings each night! By the end of that week, more than 7,000 people prayed to receive Jesus as their Lord. Then on the last night of those meetings, we witnessed one of the greatest miracles we have ever seen in our ministry.
Nineteen years earlier, a man in that crowd had become paralyzed from the waist down after falling from the roof of a house. On the first day of the meetings, we saw this man as he hobbled toward the stage on his crutches to give his life to Jesus. On the second day of the meetings, he came to receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit. On the fourth day, he showed up at the local swimming pool where we were baptizing people, and he was water-baptized. If nothing else happened, his life had already been completely transformed by the power of God.
But on the last night of the meetings, just as we closed the final service, I heard a noise to my left and turned to see what the commotion was all about. This paralyzed man had released his faith and thrown his arms into the air — and as his crutches hit the ground, the lower part of his body had come alive! Now he was standing with no crutches to hold him up.
Because of where the man was seated, the entire crowd turned to watch as he began to take his first steps in nineteen years. He took one step, then another, and then another — and with each step, he moved faster and faster. Soon he was running back and forth all across the front of the vast crowd that was gasping with shock at the miracle they were witnessing. The entire crowd saw this miracle take place!
After that remarkable event, I gave an invitation for the lost, and more people gave their lives to Jesus Christ that night than in any of the other services. Years later, people still recall that amazing miracle, and as a result of that miracle and the other miracles that took place during those meetings, multitudes believed in Jesus. Many of these people hadn’t previously believed in the existence of God at all, but because of these miraculous demonstrations, they gave their lives to Jesus Christ!
God has always used miracles to attract people to Jesus Christ. Many such examples can be found in Scripture, but one of the greatest demonstrations of this truth is recorded in John 6:2, which says, “And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.”
The word “great” in this verse is a translation of the Greek word polus, which refers to a great numeric quantity. This tells us that the crowd following Jesus was really huge. In addition, the Greek word for “multitude” is ochlos, which always describes a massive crowd. By using these two words back to back, John was emphasizing that the crowd following Jesus wasn’t simply large — it was an enormously massive group of people!
This verse goes on to tell us that this group of people “followed” Jesus. The Greek word used here denotes continuous, unbroken action. Taking this into account, the first part of this verse could be translated, “And a great multitude kept on following and following and following him.…” You see, there was something about Jesus’ ministry that attracted these throngs of people. They didn’t want to be away from Him, not even for a moment! They just kept on following and following and following Him everywhere He went!
Why was this massive multitude following Jesus? The verse tells us: “…because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.” The word “because” is the word hoti, and it points to the reason the crowd was following Jesus. It says they were following Him “…because they saw his miracles.…”
I want you to look at the word “saw” in this verse. This word means to be a spectator, to notice, or to watch in full detail. Just as one would sit and watch a play from a seat in the theater, this crowd watched intently to see every miracle Jesus was performing. Like spectators in a theater who are mesmerized by an amazing show, they didn’t want to miss one act in this supernatural performance, so they followed Jesus to get a close-up look at the miracles that were constantly occurring in His ministry.
The verse goes on to say, “…They saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.” The word “miracles” used here actually comes from the Greek word semeion. In the Greek world of the First Century AD, this word semeion signified the official written notice that announced the final verdict of a court, the signature or seal applied to documents to guarantee their authenticity, or a sign that marked key locations in a city.
Taking this into account, we find these miracles were the final verdict or proof that God was with Jesus. When that crowd saw the miracles, they knew those supernatural acts were God’s stamp of approval on Jesus’ ministry. These superhuman deeds were the guarantee that Jesus was anointed by God. The miracles He performed were like signs that declared, “God is here! You are in the right place!” They were comparable to a signature or a seal that authenticated and guaranteed that God was with Him. That’s why these followers didn’t want to be away from Jesus. They knew Jesus had the stamp of God’s approval!
John 6:2 even gives us an idea of what kind of miracles primarily caught the attention of the crowd. It says, “And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.” The words “he did” come from the Greek word poieo, which often conveys the idea of creativity. This is important because in this context, poieo gives the suggestion of creative miracles. The use of this Greek word implies that extraordinary miracles of a creative nature were regularly occurring and that these miracles in particular were catching the attention of the crowd.
Furthermore, John recorded that Jesus was healing those who were “diseased.” The word “diseased” comes from the Greek word astheneo. This word doesn’t refer to people with minor ailments such as the common cold; rather, it depicts people who are physically frail or feeble due to some bodily condition. Their physical condition is so serious that it has rendered them unable to move about freely. These were feeble, frail, broken people.
However, when Jesus walked the earth, He carried the anointing to heal the sick — and He regularly healed people who were physically frail or feeble due to some bodily condition. The health of these people had deteriorated to the point that they had become weak and frail — but once Jesus touched them, they were restored to health!
Taking all these words into consideration, an interpretative translation of John 6:2 could read:
“A massive multitude continually followed Jesus because they were constantly seeing the mighty signs He was performing on those who were sick. Those whose health was so deteriorated that they were physically frail were recipients of these mighty deeds that authenticated the fact that God was with Jesus!”
Those who followed Jesus during His ministry on this earth knew that something wonderful was always happening. People’s lives were being changed; their health was being restored; and their purpose in life was being renewed. Jesus was the best thing that had ever happened to every person who ever came in contact with Him!
And Jesus is still the best thing that has ever happened to every person who comes in contact with Him today! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), so why don’t you go ahead and believe for miracles to start working in your life as they did in Jesus’ life? When people see those miracles and experience the power of God, it will open their hearts to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. Miracles will get their attention, and then you can tell them about Jesus!
Think of the profound effect that a single miracle would have on your circle of friends and the people you know. God wants to work through you! As a believer, you are anointed and commissioned to lay hands on the sick, and you have the right to expect to see those sick people get well. That’s God’s promise in Mark 16:18, so boldly claim it by faith and reach out to let His power operate through you to others!
Having witnessed so many miracles in our ministry, I want to encourage you to believe God for miracles in your own life and in the lives of those around you. When people see and experience the power of God, it makes them want to follow Jesus, just like the crowds who followed Him in John 6:2. Miracles are God’s way of shouting, “I am here and I love you!”
It is sad that many people think Jesus’ miracle-working power is only a thing of the past, because He is the same today as He was then. He is both able and willing now to do the same things He did when He walked the earth 2,000 years ago. Jesus hasn’t changed. He wants to touch, heal, and restore people. That’s why I want to encourage you to make room in your life for Jesus to perform His miracle-working, life-changing ministry through you!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Heavenly Father, I am so thankful that Jesus came to earth to reveal Your will and to show us Your ways. Just as Jesus went about manifesting Your goodness by destroying the works of the devil, He is the same — yesterday, today, and forever. Father, it’s Your goodness and loving-kindness that leads people to repentance. I make myself available to You as a vessel through whom Jesus can manifest Himself to others. Jesus was the best thing that ever happened to every person who ever came in contact with Him. Holy Spirit, bring people into contact with Jesus through me as You use my life. Demonstrate Your miracle power through my life to open hearts and change lives. Make me a vessel You can flow through to cause people’s health to be restored and their hope to be renewed by a personal encounter with You.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I give place for Jesus Christ to perform His miracle-working, life-changing ministry through me. When Jesus walked the earth, He went about doing good, healing all, and destroying the works of the devil. I am anointed and commissioned by Him to lay my hands on the sick in His name and to see them recover. That is God’s promise in Mark 16:18, and I boldly claim it by faith as I yield to His compassion and reach out to others with confident expectation to see His miracle-working power released to others through my life.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- What miracle do you need in your own life right now? What touch of God do you need in your family? What supernatural provision do you need in your job, your business, or your finances? If you will release your faith in Jesus, He will step in and work miracles in any situation you’re facing!
- Can you think of people in your life who are in desperate need of a miracle? Have you asked the Lord what part He may want you to take in releasing His miracle-working power through you into their lives or situations?
- Have you prayed with those people about that need, expecting God to move on their behalf to see that miracle manifest? If you haven’t, why not? Let the love and compassion of God flow through you as you pray for these individuals — always with faith believing you have received the answer!