Jesus Performed Seven Sabbath Miracles

by: Bill Bratt


Jesus performed many miracles during His ministry. Jesus was very compassionate to the people and much of His time was spent in the act of healing: "But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all (Matthew 12:15.) Jesus did so many miracles that the Bible doesnít record them all. The last verse in the gospel of John says: "And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written (John 21:25.)

It is interesting that the Bible records seven Sabbath miracles. The number "seven" denotes perfection and completeness. There are seven colors in the rainbow and seven notes in a musical scale. Of time it tells of the Sabbath, and marks off the week of seven days. The seven Sabbath miracles indicates a type of perfection and completeness.

Letís take a brief look at the seven miracles that Jesus performed on the Sabbath and see what we can glean from them.

Jesus Heals a Lame Man by the Pool of Bethesda

"After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. {2} Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. {3} In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. {4} For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. {5} Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. {6} When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be made well?" {7} The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me." {8} Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk." {9} And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. {10} The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, "It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed." {11} He answered them, "He who made me well said to me, 'Take up your bed and walk.'" {12} Then they asked him, "Who is the Man who said to you, 'Take up your bed and walk'?" {13} But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. {14} Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you." {15} The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. {16} For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. {17} But Jesus answered them, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working." {18} Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God (John 5:1-18.)

Notice at this time that Jesus only healed one person out of the great multitude of sick people (Verse 3.) Notice also that Jesus told the man to do three things: "Rise, take up your bed and walk" (Vs. 8.) Jesus healed the man and he was able to rise and standup as a healthy human being. The healed man was to pick up his bedding (bedroll) and not to leave it at the pool of Bethesda and the man was to walk. Where did the man walk to? He walked to the Temple and he probably went there to praise God for the healing of his infirmity of thirty-eight years.

While the man was walking the Jews saw him carrying his bed and they said to him: "It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed."

The Jews had their "oral law" and this law was later put in written form and is called the Mishnah. The Jews had built a hedge around the Sabbath with their "oral law" in which they were trying not to break the Sabbath. The reason they did this was two fold. Years earlier they had disobeyed God by profaning Godís Sabbaths and worshiping idols and God had them carried away into the Babylonian captivity for seventy years (Ezekiel 20:23-24, Jeremiah 25:11.)

After the Babylonian captivity the Jews became very strict and did not do any idol worship from that time on. In order not to break the Sabbath the Jews created their "oral law" (Mishnah) and the largest tractate of the Seder Moíed deals with the Sabbath. Chapter seven has a list of thirty-nine chief kinds of work that are forbidden on the Sabbath. Some of these laws involve: sowing, plowing, reaping, baking and even extinguishing a fire. (For more information on this topic request our free article: "The Thirty-nine Categories of Sabbath Work" which explains this part of the Mishnah.)

The Sabbathís day journey is also a part of the Mishnah. It is calculated to be two thousand cubits (approximately three thousand feet) in a radius from your dwelling place. In a straight line this distance would be doubled.

Now letís get back to the passage regarding the healed lame man. Jesus told the man to do three things: "Rise, take up your bed and walk" (Vs. 8.) These three commands were forbidden by the Jews on the Sabbath. To "rise" indicated that Jesus healed the man. Healing was forbidden on the Sabbath. Carrying your bed and walking more than a Sabbathís day journey was forbidden on the Sabbath.

Jesus healed the lame man on the Sabbath and He did it as a direct provocation of the laws that the Jews had established. Jesus did this to expand our knowledge of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is to be pleasant and positive, a time to "do good" - it is not to be a bunch of strict Pharisaical legal rules that would make the Sabbath a yoke of bondage. The Sabbath pictures freedom. Jesus healed the lame man and gave him freedom and liberty from his infirmity and affliction.

Now notice Verse 16: "For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath." Jesus was "doing good" and the Pharisees, chief priests and the scribes hated Him for it.

Verse 18 says: "Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God." Jesus did NOT break the Sabbath! He obeyed Godís law and was perfect and without sin (Hebrews 4:15) and He kept the Sabbath as it should be kept. The law that was broken was the Jewís "oral law" with all of itís restrictions. The Jewish religious leaders also hated Jesus because He said that God was His Father. 

Jesus Drives Out an Evil Spirit

"Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. {22} And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. {23} Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, {24} saying, "Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are; the Holy One of God!" {25} But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet, and come out of him!" {26} And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him. {27} Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him." {28} And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee (Mark 1:21-28.)

What did Jesus do on the Sabbath? He entered the synagogue and taught.

The Sabbath is special to Jesus because He is Lord and Master of it. "And He (Jesus) said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. {28} "Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27-28.) Notice that the Sabbath was made for man, not just the Jews. Jesus was the creator of all things (John 1:1-3) and He created the Sabbath and made it holy (Genesis 2:2-3.) (For more information on this topic request our free article: "Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath.)

How did Jesus teach in the synagogue? He taught with authority.

Authority is a key word in this passage. Authority involves testimony, being an expert, having influence and power, a person in command, a governmental agency. Jesus is all of these. His testimony relates to Him being the Word of God (John 1:1-3.) By Jesus being the creator of the universe, He is an expert in all things. In this passage Jesus showed that He had power and influence over the unclean evil demonic spirit in the man. Jesus rebuked it and said: "Be quiet, and come out of him!" and the evil spirit obeyed. In the future Jesus will be the head of the earthís governmental agency as "King of kings and Lord of lords" (Revelation 17:14.)

Notice in Verse 27 that the people were amazed at JesusĎ authority. Jesus has authority over all things (Ephesians 3:9) including the earthly elements of wind, water and storms (Matthew 8:27.) Jesus is our healer (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24) and has authority over our well being including sickness, fever and demonic spirits.

Jesus also has authority over Satan the devil. When Jesus went into the wilderness for forty days and after He was tempted by the devil three times, Jesus said: "Away with you, Satan" and the devil obeyed and left Him immediately (Matthew 4:1-11.)

Jesus Heals Peterís Mother-in-law

"Now as soon as they had come out of the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. {30} But Simon's wife's mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once. {31} So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them (Mark 1:29-31.)

Notice that Peterís mother-in-law was healed totally. She required no convalescence. Jesus had infused her to full strength enabling her to minister and serve the household, probably preparing a meal for them.

Jesus Heals a Man with a Deformed Hand  

"And He (Jesus) entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. {2} So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. {3} And He said to the man who had the withered hand, "Step forward." {4} Then He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they kept silent. {5} And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. {6} Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him (Mark 3:1-6.)

The Pharisees, chief priests and the scribes "watched Him closely." They expected Jesus to heal this man and they wanted to accuse Him. It is hard to understand their hard core legalism against "doing good" on the Sabbath. The Jews had more love for their animals than for people who had life threatening sicknesses, afflictions and infirmities. The Jews would water their animals and help them out of a ditch on the Sabbath (Luke 13:15, 14:5), but they resented Jesus who would help people "out of a ditch" by healing them of some kind of affliction.

In Verse 4, Jesus asked: "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" Jesus is showing that the Sabbath is a day to love God and to love and serve your fellow man by "doing good" to your neighbor. Religion to the Jewish religious leaders was ritual, obeying rules and regulations.

Notice in Verse 5, it says that Jesus looked at them with anger because of the hardness of their hearts. This was righteous authoritarian anger. Jesus didnít get angry very often but when He did He controlled it (Mark 10:14.)

Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

"Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. {2} And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" {3} Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. {4} "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. {5} "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." {6} When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. {7} And He said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing. {8} Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, "Is not this he who sat and begged?" {9} Some said, "This is he." Others said, "He is like him." He said, "I am he." {10} Therefore they said to him, "How were your eyes opened?" {11} He answered and said, "A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, 'Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.' So I went and washed, and I received sight." {12} Then they said to him, "Where is He?" He said, "I do not know. {13} They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. {14} Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. {15} Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, "He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see." {16} Therefore some of the Pharisees said, "This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath." Others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?" And there was a division among them (John 9:1-16.)

This is the only miracle in the gospels in which the suffering person is said to have been afflicted from his birth. There was a common belief at that time that sin caused health problems but notice what Jesus said was the real reason for the beggarsí blindness: "but that the works of God should be revealed in him." Why did Jesus make clay with saliva? He probably did it to provoke the Jewish religious leaders, since they would consider Him to be working on the Sabbath. He liked to get in their faces and show them their faults and hypocrisy and calling them hypocrites (Matthew 23.)
There is a song in our hymnal called, "Stand up for Jesus" and that is exactly what the healed blind man was doing, he was witnessing for Jesus.

Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman

"Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. {11} And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. {12} But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, "Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity." {13} And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. {14} But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, "There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day." {15} The Lord then answered him and said, "Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? {16} "So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound; think of it; for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?" {17} And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him (Luke 13:10-17.)

Notice in Verse 16 that it was Satan who had bound this woman with her affliction for eighteen years and it was Jesus who had mercy on her and loosed her from Satanís bondage and healed her.

This passage is another example of how the Jewish religious leaders loved their animals more than their fellow brothers of Abraham (Vs. 16.)

Jesus Heals a Man with Dropsy

"Now it happened, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely. {2} And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy. {3} And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" {4} But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him, and let him go. {5} Then He answered them, saying, "Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?" {6} And they could not answer Him regarding these things (Luke 14:1-6.)

Why did the Pharisee invite Jesus for a Sabbath meal? Verse 1 says that it was so they could "watch Him closely." They wanted to accuse Him. Their hatred was so great that they wanted to destroy Him (Mark 3:1-6) and by false accusations and an illegal trial, they finally had Him crucified and He died on a cross (Matthew 27:35.)

In Conclusion: Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath and that makes the Sabbath the true "Lordís Day.í In performing these seven Sabbath miracles, Jesus is showing us how to keep the Sabbath. He emphasized the humane element of mercy, compassion and loving-kindness by healing and "doing good" on the Sabbath. He showed us that we are not to be "hard hearted" as the Pharisees were when it comes to the Sabbath. We need to keep the Sabbath as Jesus did by worshiping God and "doing good!"

For more information: Pick the following link:
Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath

This article proves that Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath.

Return to Sabbath Page

Go to ICOG Home Page