Answering The Atheist
January 30, 2005 / Volume 5, Issue 5
THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
Did Jesus perform many signs and wonders? Some verses say yes (Mark 16:20; John 3:2; 20:30; Acts 2:22), while others say no (Matthew 12:39; 16:4; Mark 8:12; Luke 11:29). Is there a contradiction?
Did Jesus perform many signs and wonders? Absolutely. That being said, Mark 16:20 does not speak of the works that Jesus performed while upon the earth, but of the works which the Lord worked through the apostles after Jesus had ascended into heaven. The other three texts supplied adequately reveal the great extent to which Jesus performed miracles.
The religious leaders of Israel asked the Lord for a sign. The Matthew 12:39 and Luke 11:29 texts are parallels, as are the Matthew 16:4 and Mark 8:12 texts. Though the Jewish leaders had witnessed many miracles performed by the Christ, they rejected them (Matthew 12:24). They demanded proof other than these miracles of His claims. No other sign would be given (beyond the miracles which he regularly performed), except the sign of Jonah — the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord.
In the latter pairing of texts, the religious leaders asked for "...a sign from heaven". Having rejected the healings He performed, they sought some confirmation from heaven itself. The miracles (which were from heaven) were not sufficient, they wanted more. Nothing more would be given to them than the sign of Jonah – again, the death, burial and resurrection of the Christ.
There is no contradiction.
This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible