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The Miracles of Jesus

That Jesus was a miracle worker is central to the Christology of the New Testament Gospels and Acts. Biblical scholars and archaeologists working in Israel have explored archaeological sites and historical records to provide context for the Biblical text.

How are we to understand the miracles Jesus performs, as related in the New Testament? BAS editors have compiled articles that explore the key sites and ancient belief systems to help you understand these miraculous events.

Scroll down to read a summary of these articles.

Understanding Jesus’ Miracles

Bible Review, Apr 1994
by Jarl Fossum

The Puzzling Pool of Bethesda

BAR, Sep/Oct 2011
by Urban C. von Wahlde

The Siloam Pool

BAR, Sep/Oct 2005
by Hershel Shanks

A Pilgrimage to the Site of the Swine Miracle

BAR, Mar/Apr 1989
by Vassilios Tzaferis

Bethsaida Rediscovered

BAR, Jan/Feb 2000
by Rami Arav, Richard A. Freund and John F. Shroder, Jr.

In “Understanding Jesus’ Miracles,” Jarl Fossum surveys the miracle stories in their Biblical context. He shows that they fall into two categories—healing miracles and nature miracles—that they sometimes allude to Old Testament events and they generally serve some theological purpose.

The Pool of Bethesda is mentioned in the Gospel of John as the site where Jesus cured a crippled man. Yet the seemingly odd description of five porticoes baffled scholars, and the exact location and nature of this pool has long confused experts. In “Puzzling Pool of Bethesda,” Urban C. von Wahlde clarifies the question of whether this was a reservoir or a mikveh, a Jewish ritual bath.

In “The Siloam Pool: Where Jesus Cured the Blind Man,” BAR editor Hershel Shanks describes the accidental discovery of the Siloam Pool, the site of one of the New Testament’s best-known miracles, and traces its history from the time of Hezekiah through Jesus’ lifetime.

In the Gospels, Jesus relieves a man tormented by demons by driving the demons into a herd of swine, which then stampeded down the hill and drowned in the Sea of Galilee. Discovered in 1970, and now excavated and restored, a monastery, basilica and chapel mark the location traditionally identified with this event. In “A Pilgrimage to the Site of the Swine Miracle,” Vassilios Tzaferis shows how this miracle site became an important destination for Christian pilgrims.

Bethsaida was one of the most important sites in Jesus’ Galilean ministry, but for 2,000 years no one knew just where it was. An international multidisciplinary dig team believes they have found the city—but not where you might expect. In “Bethsaida Rediscovered,” Rami Arav, Richard A. Freund and John F. Shroder Jr. explore the site’s rich history from the time of King David to the New Testament period.

These five articles, compiled from Biblical Archaeology Review and Bible Review, provide a historical, religious and archaeological framework through which we can better understand the settings of Jesus’ miracles and how they would have been understood by his followers.