“He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief” Matthew 13:58
There are many occasions recorded in the Gospels where Jesus performed miracles without there being any evidence of faith beforehand. He walked on water, calmed storms, provided food for crowds, placed a coin in the mouth of a fish, cast out demons, healed people and even raised the dead without the need for any evidence of faith in Him. Therefore we must not conclude that He is in some way made powerless by the unbelief of people.
Jesus could not do many mighty works at that time because He did not want to confirm the people in a wrong idea of who He is and His mission. It was not because He was powerless.
An excellent example of the purpose of miracles is seen in Matthew 9:1-8. It is so important that Mark and Luke also record this occasion. Four men brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus for healing but Jesus got to the most important point first by saying, “Son, be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven you.” The reason to be cheerful was that his sins were forgiven. To demonstrate that He had the authority to forgive sins, an authority that belongs only to God, Jesus also healed the man of his paralysis. The purpose of the miracle was to confirm that the man’s sins were forgiven and that Jesus had authority to forgive the man’s sin.
What was the attitude of the crowd when they heard Jesus forgive the man and heal His paralysis? Matthew records that they glorified God. In other words, they acknowledge that the miracle was from God but what about the forgiveness of sins? It would seem to me that they overlooked the greatest miracle. Had they really believed that the man’s sin was forgiven surely there would have been a rush of people asking for their sins to be forgiven also.
Jesus was not a miracle working side show wowing the crowds for fame and fortune. He knew that miracles, in some circumstances, could be a hindrance to faith in Him.
Jesus and the apostles never had a single failure in healing. Those who claim to be able to heal these days blame their failures on the faith of the one seeking healing. That was never an issue with Jesus and the apostles because healings never depended on the faith of the sick person. The problem today is that faith is misplaced in a so-called healer who has no power to heal. The deceiver and counterfeiter is happy to step in (Matthew 7:21-23).
The greatest and only eternal miracle is that of a soul being saved through faith in Jesus Christ. That is the greatest expression of God’s glory on earth. Every person that Jesus healed while He walked this earth died bodily long ago so bodily healing is not eternally important. However, every person who came to faith in Jesus Christ lives forever.
If Jesus did many mighty works regardless of the attitude of people, they might see no reason to question their relationship with Him.
Miracles may point a person to Jesus Christ but when people desire a miracle for selfish reasons without seeking the Giver the giving of it would only confirm them in a kind of superstitious concept of God. We are “of good cheer” and rejoice because our sins are forgiven and our “names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).