And the question is, Would we have believed his words if he didn’t perform extraordinary signs and wonders?
One of the most important aspects of Jesus’ ministry during his time on earth was the performance of miracles. In the Gospel accounts, Jesus was known by the local people as a “miracle-worker,” that is, a person who healed the sick, raised the dead, and casted out demons.
His resurrection from the dead was of course the greatest miracle of them all, which was actually performed by his Father.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes how, “Jesus accompanies his words with many powerful works and wonders and signs, which shows that the kingdom is present in him and attest that he was the promised Messiah” (CCC 547).
The signs worked by Jesus confirmed that the Father has sent him. And it invited the people’s belief in him. To those who turn to him in faith, he does what they ask. So miracles strengthen the faith in the One who does his Father’s works; and they bear witness that he is the Son of God. (CCC 548). If at all Jesus didn’t perform miracles, it would have been much more difficult to convince people that he was the Messiah.
During the 1st century, people claimed that they were the Messiah, but none of them could turn water into wine or restore the sight of a man born blind.
Jesus recognized this truth and openly spoke about it when healing the paralytic who was brought before him by others.
Jesus, knowing what they had in mind, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, take up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. (Matthew 9:4-7).
Jesus could have just said to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven,” but because anybody could say those words, Jesus attested that what he said was true by healing the man. The result turned out to be a crowd of people who were amazed at what they saw and they glorified God.
Though without miracles, Jesus would have been known as a good preacher, who spoke words of wisdom, but it wouldn’t have been easy to convince his countrymen that he was the Son of God who come to save us.