As we've been studying the book of Acts during Sunday morning Bible Study, we've read about the miracles performed by Jesus' apostles. Their miracles bear a striking similarity to Jesus' own miracles that we study in the Gospels. But there is one important difference. Jesus performed miracles by His own power. The apostles don't have the power of healing except by calling on the name of Jesus. They must rely on His power, and not their own.
But what is the point of the miracles in the first place? First, Jesus had a great desire to heal the brokenness that He saw around Him. As the crowds were coming to Jesus to be healed, we are told "He had compassion on them" (Matt. 14:14). God created a good and perfect world with no sickness, infirmity, or death. So, it makes sense that when the Creator is with His creatures, He would desire to restore some of that goodness amid so much suffering and evil.
But that's not the main point of the miracles, either those performed by Jesus or by His apostles. Those Jesus healed even those he brought back from physical death, would one day die. We get a hint of the real purpose of the miracles throughout scripture, but especially in the book of John where the miracles are referred to as "signs." Signs point to something else. Road signs inform us of what's ahead. The miracles of Jesus point to Him as true God; only God Himself could do the miraculous things that Jesus did. So, if Jesus is God, it would make sense that the people listen to what He says. So, the signs, the miracles, are performed to convince the people that they should listen to Jesus, and later to His apostles.
We see in Jesus' day that not all the people who saw miracles became disciples of Jesus. Some of them may have followed for a while, but then later fell away. Toward the end of His earthly ministry, the miracles tapered off, and so did the number of His followers. Many people just wanted to see more miracles and remained uninterested in Jesus' words. This phenomenon is reminiscent of the Israelites after they left Egypt as recorded in Exodus. They had seen the plagues, witnessed the Red Sea parting, yet still didn't trust in God, and doubted his faithfulness and power. But it is only God’s Word that can create true faith. Remember, miracles point to Jesus and His word. Faith in Jesus doesn't come from seeing miracles. "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ" (Rom 10:17).