Why did Jesus not do similar miracles to feeding the 5,000 (see Luke 9:12–17) on occasions when the disciples would have to buy food to eat (John 4:8)?
The answer to your question lies in the divine purposes of miracles during Jesus’ earthly ministry. We tend to think that Jesus performed miracles just because He had compassion on people when He saw them sick and needy. It is true that Jesus healed and met needs for this cause, but that was only one reason He performed miracles. If His sole reason for miracles had been compassion, why didn’t He heal every person in every community in the whole nation?
In looking at these miracles, we need to trust in God’s divine sovereignty and selectivity of occasion in miracle-working relative to His total program and purposes. Note these Scripture passages revealing Jesus’ additional purposes in performing miracles:
(1) John 20:30, 31: Signs and miracles were for the purpose of authenticating Who Jesus was and is and for the purpose of bringing people to salvation through Him alone. The miracles Jesus performed showed people His relationship to God the Father and also proved His message (John 10:38).
(2) Matthew 12:28: The miracles had a kingdom aspect to them. Jesus introduced His people, the Jews, to the kingdom of God, which they rejected the first time He came to earth (John 1:11, 12). Nevertheless, the miracles revealed conditions that will characterize the millennial reign of Christ that follows His second coming: sickness and death removed, hunger alleviated, joy and abundance prevailing, Satan in defeat.
(3) Matthew 8:23–27: This and numerous other passages show the tremendous teaching effect that the miracles had on Jesus’ disciples. Thus the miracles served the purpose of showing the disciples divine power, the importance of prayer, the ability of God to provide, and the need to spread the powerful gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world.
It is also important to remember this principle: Jesus didn’t necessarily perform the supernatural when needs could be met in other ways. The same is true today.
Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send to email@example.com or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.