Signs of the Kingdom


In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness. The humble also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 29:18-19) 

Isaiah had prophesied that the day would come when the deaf could hear and the blind could see. This is a sign of God’s coming Kingdom.  Jesus points this out to the disciples of St John the Forerunner who came to ask Him if He was the Christ or not: 


And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. (Luke 7:22) 

Jesus is telling John’s disciples to consider carefully what they have witnessed and to decide for themselves whether or not He is the promised Messiah. This is a very different scenario than when those hostile to Jesus wanted to attack Him: 

The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God.” (John 10:31-33) 


Jesus again wants his antagonists to consider the works/signs He is doing and to evaluate them. His opponents ignore His works and rely on an ad hominin attack. Christ wanted people to see His miracles as a sign that God was working in and through Him so they would come to faith. 

… Jesus saw his exorcisms as a demonstration that the end of the age was already present, that the final reign of God was already in operation. He is recalled, indeed, as making precisely that claim: that his exorcisms were evidence that the kingly rule which God would exercise in the new age was already in effective operation (Matthew 12:28/Luke 11:20).  (James Dunn, THE PARTINGS OF THE WAYS, p 236) 


The miracles of Christ are a sign that God’s Kingdom is breaking into this world, or perhaps more accurately, that this world is related to God’s Kingdom and needs only a reorientation to recognize this truth. In this thinking, miracles are not so much things that overturn the order of nature, as they are signs of what nature was originally meant to be. They are nature doing the things God had imbued it with in the beginning, but which were lost as the consequence of the Fall: 


 … heaven and earth do not simply prefigure the ‘new heaven and new earth‘; they are the actual substrate of that future transformation. The beginnings of this transformation can actually be glimpsed in the presence of holiness. The person conformed to Christ, whose love of God spills over to embrace all creatures, starts to realize around himself or herself the intended relationship between humans and the rest of creation. Stories of Saints enjoying the cooperation of dangerous animals and even of the elements continue up to our own day, and are seen as an important testimony to the intended relationship among all creatures. It is in this light that miracles in general are seen: they are not a matter of overpowering the laws of nature, but rather ‘exceptional anticipations of the eschatological state’, ‘revealing to nature a window that opens out onto its own most appropriate goal’. (Elizabeth Theokritoff, THE CAMBRIDGE COMPANION TO ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY, p 70) 


Human sin, a potential result of God’s gift of free will to humans, temporarily dislodges the Lordship of God in creation. Christ comes not to do miracles, but to use the miracles to reveal to us the world which God intended. They are meant to help us accept God as our Lord again – a re-creation to restore our relationship with our Creator. 

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