Compelling Evidence that Jesus was Not a Great Miracle Worker

Image result for image of jesus feeding the multitude
Jesus’ great miracle, the Feeding of the Five Thousand

 

 In those days [immediately following Jesus’ ascension to heaven] Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons)…

–Acts 1:15

Think about this, dear Reader:  If the authors of the Gospels are telling us the truth, Jesus performed some of the greatest miracles ever described in the annals of human history; many of them performed in front of hundreds and even thousands of eyewitnesses, in both Judea and Galilee, all over a period of three years…yet at the end of his life, he had only 120 followers!

What happened???

Did the “five thousand” people whom he fed with five loaves of bread and a few fishes refuse to believe in his resurrection?  Did the hundreds at the marriage feast in Cana who witnessed great jugs of water turned into wine refuse to believe in his resurrection?  Did the hundreds who witnessed Jesus heal leprosy, cast out demons into 2,000 pigs, heal the blind, and raise three people from the dead all refuse to believe his greatest miracle, raising himself from the dead???

Thousands of people personally witnessed his many incredible miracles…but in the end, did not believe that Jesus was the messiah, the Son of god, that he was resurrected.

Why?

Answer:  Poor evidence???  Isn’t it highly probable that the reason why the overwhelming majority of people in Judea and Galilee rejected Jesus’ claim as the messiah was that the evidence for his claim was so very, very poor?  Doesn’t the lack of significant numbers of believers immediately after Jesus’ death strongly indicate that these stories are not true; that these great miracles did not occur; that they are literary fiction written for theological purposes, not accurate accounts of historical events?  And what does this say for the evidence for Jesus’ alleged resurrection?  Jesus was allegedly the greatest miracle worker in the history of Israel and the world…yet only 120 people believed his ability to raise himself from the dead!

Dear Reader.  Isn’t it obvious?  These stories, including the Resurrection story, are not historical!

Christian objections:

“But the 120 refers to the number of believers only in Jerusalem/Judea.”  That is certainly possible, but think about this:  There is no mention in Acts, the writings of Paul, or in history books of any great churches in Galilee or other parts of Judea.  We only hear about Jerusalem.  If thousands of people were already followers of Jesus in Galilee where Jesus’ allegedly performed most of his miracles, why no mention of the great church in Capernum, or Cana, or Nazareth, or any other city in Galilee???

“But Josephus says that Jesus did have a reputation as a miracle worker and a healer.”  Yes, the writings of Josephus do say this, however, we need to consider two issues.  One, we cannot be sure that this statement in the writings of Josephus is not a Christian interpolation.  Second, think about it:  If Jesus really had raised three people from the dead, a greater feat than the combined miracles of Elijah and Elisha, why didn’t Josephus mention these events???

Josephus did not mention these fantastical miracle claims most likely because he knew they had never happened!

Image result for image jesus raises lazarus from the dead
Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.

 

 

 

End of post.

 

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14 thoughts on “Compelling Evidence that Jesus was Not a Great Miracle Worker

  1. re: “…yet at the end of his life, he had only 120 followers!”

    We certainly don’t know this to be true at all, from the text you’ve referenced. The text you’ve referenced (Acts 1:15) takes place in Jerusalem, and more specifically, in the confines of a single room. All we know from this text is that there were about 120 believers in that room in Jerusalem. We have no idea how many believers there might have been elsewhere, such as in Galilee or in various towns scattered throughout Judea, nor does this particular passage give us any reason to think that “all believers from everywhere gathered together in that room”.

    The rest of your post is heavily based on the assumption of “a total number of 120 believers, worldwide” – an assumption that many simply don’t share.

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    1. Actually, I was being generous. New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman states that the consensus among Bible scholars is that there were only about 20 believers in the time period immediately after Jesus’ death.

      Bart Ehrman: It is almost universally thought that Christianity started out as a very small movement – say about 20 people a few weeks after Jesus’ death.

      Source: https://ehrmanblog.org/growth-rate-of-early-christianity-for-members/

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      1. Feeding thousands, curing leprosy, restoring sight to the blind, raising the dead…and only TWENTY followers of Jesus in the time period shortly after his death!

        Wow! And Christians want us to believe these events are historical facts.

        The truth is much more likely to be that the grand miracle claims about Jesus are no different than the miracle claims about Caesar Augustus: They are embellished literary accounts for the purpose of emphasizing the author’s high esteem for a “great” man. That’s it. These over-the-top events never happened.

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        1. Within a week of Jesus death, I doubt that there were more than a dozen people that believed in the resurrection. Within two or three weeks? Yeh, Ok, 20… But, I’m not sure where that number comes from.

          Ehrman says “If, as the NT actually indicates, Christianity started out with about 20 of Jesus’ followers soon after his death coming to believe that he was raised from the dead….”

          So, Ehrman isn’t relying on some “consensus” that you claim. He is relying on something in the NT that indicates 20 followers coming to believe that Jesus was raised from the dead. But, again, I don’t specifically know where that figure of 20 comes from.

          But, Ehrman also plays with the numbers a bit, and concludes “So I’m assuming there were several hundred Christians then, say three decades after Jesus’ death. How many hundreds? I don’t know. But here’s the obvious problem with assuming there was a steady rate of growth. If the rate was 4.25% per year, and the movement started out with 20 of Jesus’ followers in the year 30, then the model would predict that by the year 50 there would only be 46 Christians in the world! And by 60 only 70 Christians. That obviously can’t be right. So I think the growth must have spurted at the beginning.

          That leaves us to question: Could there have, in fact, been 120 disciples in Jerusalem at the day of Pentecost, about 50 days after the crucifixion?

          I really don’t know why not. I don’t see it as unreasonable at all. And especially not if Ehrmans contention that “the growth must have spurted at the beginning” is correct.

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          1. Bart Ehrman: “It is almost universally thought that Christianity started out as a very small movement…”

            The number of Christians was “small”. Period. Whether it was 20 or 120, my point is, what the hell happened to all the thousands of Jews who witnessed Jesus perform more miracles/and more spectacular miracles than ALL the prophets of the Old Testament combined???

            This fact, which is “almost universally” accepted by historians and New Testament scholars, is very strong evidence that Jesus was NOT a great miracle worker and that the evidence for his alleged resurrection was piss poor.

            Maybe Jesus healed a couple people of their chronic back pain and sinus infections, but he sure as hell was not curing leprosy, blindness, and death!!!

            These stories are first century hyperbole to extol the virtues of a “great” man, no different than the alleged miracle claims about Emperor Augustus.

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            1. Jesus could have performed miracles in front of thousands of Jews, and yet, there are many, many reasons why they’d never believe he was resurrected, and certainly not a “resurrected Messiah”.

              Miracles got nuthin’ to do with it.

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              1. Miracles got nuthin’ to do with it???

                Not according to the authors of the Gospels:

                Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe[d] that Jesus is the Messiah,[e] the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

                The author of John clearly states that he recorded the miracles (signs) of Jesus so that people would believe. That was the purpose of the miracles: so that people would believe. Yet every Jew in Israel rejected Jesus except for a “small” number. Why? Most probable answer: The evidence for his claims of Messiahship and Godship were piss poor!

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                1. re: “The author of John clearly states that he recorded the miracles (signs) of Jesus so that people would believe. That was the purpose of the miracles: so that people would believe. ”

                  you’re absolutely right. But, when I said “miracles got nuthin’ to do with it”, I was referring to the fact that despite the miracles – even though they were done in order that people might believe – people still rejected Jesus’ resurrection and Messiahship.

                  You say ” Most probable answer: The evidence for his claims of Messiahship and Godship were piss poor!”

                  I say it was because for mainstream Jews, Jesus’ resurrection was totally out of any “expectation” that any of them had, because those that believed in a resurrection believed in a “general resurrection” “at the last Day” — and therefore, since they did not believe in Jesus’ resurrection, they certainly weren’t going to believe he was Messiah.

                  re: ” Doesn’t the lack of significant numbers of believers immediately after Jesus’ death strongly indicate that these stories are not true; that these great miracles did not occur?”

                  No. Not at all. Like I said, thousands of Jews could have witnessed, first-hand, Jesus’ miracles – but that does not offset their pre-concieved belief that “resurrections don’t happen, except at the Last Day”.

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                  1. “I say it was because for mainstream Jews, Jesus’ resurrection was totally out of any “expectation” that any of them had, because those that believed in a resurrection believed in a “general resurrection” “at the last Day” — and therefore, since they did not believe in Jesus’ resurrection, they certainly weren’t going to believe he was Messiah.”

                    I agree. Mainstream Jews were not expecting a dead-but-suddenly-alive-again messiah, neither were they expecting God to come to earth in the form of a man. First because Jesus did not meet the requirements of the messiah, and second, (allegedly) this god had told the Jewish people in the Old Testament that “I am not a man”.

                    So when Jesus, a man, came along claiming to be God…they thought he was nuts.

                    But the bigger point is: Alleged sightings of this reanimated/transformed back-from-the-dead man (oddly, appearances only observed by his mostly uneducated, emotionally vulnerable peasant followers and one manic-depressive rabbi) could not overcome the teachings of the Old Testament regarding who the messiah would be and who the Jewish god is.

                    The majority of first century Jews looked at these claims rationally, not emotionally like the disciples, and rejected them as nonsense.

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  2. uh… He was crucified… dunno if you read about that?

    John 6 tells us that many left Him even before that because of His hard sayings. These were people following Him just because of His miracles.

    Grasping at straws much Gary?

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    1. You are delusional, Liam. You are a lost cause. I cannot help you. But I can attempt to rescue those who are not so deeply indoctrinated (brain-washed).

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      1. Liam makes a good point from Johns gospel.

        Now, re this: “Alleged sightings of this reanimated/transformed back-from-the-dead man to his followers and one bipolar rabbi could not overcome the teachings of the Old Testament regarding who the messiah would be and who the Jewish god is.”

        Gary, I hate to break it to you, but at the time of Jesus, there was simply NOT any clear, or agreed-upon ideas of who the Messiah would be (if there were to be a Messiah at all); nor was there any clear and agreed-upon ideas of the afterlife (or lack thereof), or the resurrection (and whether or not there would actually be one), and concepts like “heaven”, “hell”, “paradise”, whatever. There wasn’t even any agreement on whether justice was something that was acted out in full in this life, or, if justice would finally be served in the next life – mainly because there was no real agreement, no set doctrine even saying there was, in fact, an afterlife.

        It may be said (arguably) that the Pharisaic views were the most widely-held views, but, that doesn’t mean those views were necessarily correct. Anything to do with the afterlife, in Judaism, was all “scriptural interpretation” and opinion and, essentially, “religious theory”. Especially in regards to a resurrection “at the Last Day”.

        So, Jesus’ resurrection – or claims of his resurrection – threw a wrench into the works. It didn’t go according to the Pharisaic views. And, they didn’t like that. Neither did the Sadducees, who didn’t believe in an afterlife at all.

        But, to imply that there was any real set, understood and agree-upon “teachings of the Old Testament regarding who the messiah would be and who the Jewish god is” is totally, and absolutely bogus.

        That’s not even true to this day in Judaism. You won’t even find Jews themselves that agree on who the messiah will be and who the Jewish god is.

        Once again, you have proven you know nothing of Judaism nor of Jewish history nor of the development of Jewish thought or doctrines.

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        1. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

          No Jew in Jesus’ time believed that the messiah would be killed; come back to life, and then restore the Davidic kingdom. No one. The OT prophesies specifically state that when the Messiah comes, there will be world peace and the kingdom of Israel and the throne of David will be restored.

          Didn’t happen in Jesus’ day.

          Period.

          The overwhelming majority of Jews rejected Jesus because he did not meet the very basic requirements of the messiah.

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          1. wow… “Wrong Wrong Wrong”.

            wow. You really got me convinced now that you actually know something of Judaism and the development of Jewish thought and doctrine in the first century.

            How could such an eloquent and well-presented post not be convincing?

            Gary, you can use as many exclamation marks as you like, but the fact of the matter is that the Sadducees didn’t agree with the Pharisees who didn’t agree with the Essenes who didn’t agree with the Samaritans who didn’t agree with the Zealots who didn’t agree with the Hasidians who didn’t agree with any number of the 20+ known sects of Judaism at the time. And, then, you have just the “Average Joe Jew” who wasn’t Pharisee, Sadducee, Essene, or anything besides “Just Jewish” – plain simple people who just live their Jewish lives by following the ways that they’d always done, whatever Mom or Dad had taught them, that’s what they do themselves. “Simple piety”. These were Jews who who observe the Sabbath, the holidays, the festivals, maybe go with the pilgrimage to temple, and who observe the dietary laws, the basic rituals, and believe in the Jewish God, following the dictates of Torah (as much as they know them). These were probably the vast majority of Judeans and Galileans – people who were not Sadducee, Pharisee, Essene, or anything else. For them, a belief in a resurrection at the end times is very much like the belief of many Christians, that when you die, you “go to heaven”. It was a belief that was non-falsifiable. And, it was “culturally true” – meaning – most people believed something would happen when you died, and the idea of being resurrected, some day, way in the future, at “the end of all things” – was the “sweet by and by”.

            Jesus’ resurrection threw all that out of whack. It’s like telling a bunch of old-time Baptists that when you die, you really don’t go to heaven – you don’t “go anywhere” until (and unless) there is a resurrection. You’ll get tons of pushback on that. Yet, it’s very arguably a true and correct understanding of NT doctrine. It will, though, get you thrown out of the All Saints Pilar of FIre Repentance Tabernacle and Pentecostal Bingo Temple (which, I’m guessing, is where you went to church and learned all the fabulous doctrine you’d love to forget now).

            All this, then, is to say “Gary, you can say ‘Wrong’ as many times as you like, and I will continue to respond with “you’re full of bull dukey”

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