Some people say that the reasons that Jesus performed all the miracles he did certainly included compassion but also to establish that he was awaited Messiah.i But Jesus himself stated another reason for his many wonderful works; he was teaching by example that we might follow his powerful walk in the spirit:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (Joh 14:12-14 ESV)
In the church epistles is where we are taught about the manifestations of the spirit, but that is not where they were introduced, just where they were enumerated and expounded on. Manifestations of the spirit are all over the bible. Lets talk about a few:
And one of his servants said, “None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” (2Ki 6:12 ESV)
Elisha manifested word of knowledge here. He knew by the spirit of God what the opposing king was planning in his bedroom!
And Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey have I struck down a thousand men.” As soon as he had finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone out of his hand. And that place was called Ramath-lehi. And he was very thirsty, and he called upon the LORD and said, “You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant, and shall I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” And God split open the hollow place that is at Lehi, and water came out from it. And when he drank, his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore the name of it was called En-hakkore; it is at Lehi to this day.
(Jdg 15:16-19 ESV)
Samson manifested faith to best a thousand men with the jawbone of a donkey and again to have a rock split to be refreshed from his thirst.
Anyone with a knowledge of bible history knows the story of Naaman. The manifestation of a gift of healing cleansed him from leprosy.
Of course there are many more, but it isn’t until after Pentecost when Christ’s awesome sacrifice allowed us to be redeemed and have the spirit of God in us again for the first time since Adam’s sin (Old testament believers with spirit had the spirit on them, not in them!) And Paul’s dealing with the Corinthians led him to expound on the manifestations of the spirit.
So, in 1 Corinthians 12, we read about manifestations of spirit:
For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. (1Co 12:8-10 KJV)
From above we see listed nine manifestations: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith or believing, gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning (distinguishing) of spirits, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues. Jesus manifested seven of these. Speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues were not introduced until Pentecost.
First of all, while there may be occasions where only one of these manifestations occur in the event, it may be that more than one manifestation is demonstrated in an event. For example, a person loves God, strives to live righteously, and looks to God in every event. And in the normal course of life he sees many needing healing, but while he can pray for each one, he is powerless to heal them. Then he encounters a certain someone, and he senses the spirit energizing in him to heal this time. This time he trusts that there will be healing; that is the manifestation of faith. When he lays hands on the person and speaks the words of healing that is the manifestation of the gift of healing. There may also be the word of knowledge and/or word of wisdom given him to give to the person in the event, perhaps telling them to avoid certain activities that led up to this illness.
So lets look at Jesus Christ manifesting the spirit. Here are verses where Jesus manifested word of wisdom:
When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.” (Mat 17:24-27 ESV)
An internet search of this event can be found listing this as a miracle. ii It certainly is a demonstration of supernatural power. But the supernatural event may not have been that a coin was created in a certain fish as much as Jesus knew how to tell his apostle to find a certain fish in the sea that had somehow swallowed a coin! Knowing what to do is wisdom, and that would make this event an example of a word of wisdom.
Here are verses where Jesus manifested word of knowledge:
On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him. But he knew their thoughts [emphasis added], and he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” And he rose and stood there. And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored. But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus. (Luk 6:6-11 ESV)
Now, this was miraculous healing and that is powerful, but the fact that he knew their thoughts was divine revelation, in this case, word of knowledge. Word of knowledge is gaining information that can only be gained by the spirit of God. That is what happened here. There was also the manifestation of a word of wisdom in knowing by the spirit the best way to handle the situation. And there was the manifestation of faith and the gift of healing.
Jesus manifested faith:
In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once. When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Mat 21:18-22 ESV)
We clearly see that Jesus used this exhibition to demonstrate the manifestation of faith. While this was not a healing or some miraculous feeding of thousands, Jesus both demonstrated and taught the manifestation of faith here. It was Jesus teaching moment, one of many in the gospels.
Jesus manifested gifts of healing; there are so many:
While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him. And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” (Luk 5:12-14 ESV)
And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. (Luk 17:12-14 ESV)
Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. (Mat 12:13 ESV)
And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment. (Mat 8:13 ESV)
Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly. (Mat 15:28 ESV)
Jesus demonstrated such a powerful healing ministry. Next, Jesus manifested working of miracles:
And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men. (Mar 6:35-44 ESV)
Here we see the faith to perform this miracle of multiplying a few loaves and fishes into feeding thousands.
Jesus manifested prophecy. Jesus prophesied doom for cities that rejected him:
Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.” (Mat 11:20-24 ESV)
Jesus prophesied his betrayal:
When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.” (Mat 26:20-25 ESV)
Jesus prophesied the coming the baptism of the holy spirit:
He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Act 1:3-5 ESV)
Jesus manifested discerning of spirits:
As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” (Mat 9:32-33 ESV)
And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region. (Mat 8:28-34 ESV)
So we see that the manifestations talked about in 1 Corinthians chapter twelve were on full display by our Lord and Savior, certainly to serve us but also to teach us!
ii The Miracles of Jesus Christ: The Coin in the Fish’s Mouth, https://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/BS/k/1586/Miracles-Jesus-Christ-Coin-in-Fishs-Mouth.htm