What were Jesus's 'Miracles' supposed to prove?
Many of the miracles have antecedents in the Old Testament and other literature. A large part of the function of miracles in the narrative is to show that Jesus is a prophet like Moses, Elijah, Isaiah and so on.
How exactly are the miracles supposed to convince us that Jesus is the 'good guy'?
They don't. Both the bible and the WT interpretation of it are full of faulty logic like the ones you point. Not to mention that though it is proven that Jesus of Nazareth did in fact exist, there isn't any proof of any of that nonsense that the bible claims he did.
slimboyfat : Many of the miracles have antecedents in the Old Testament and other literature. A large part of the function of miracles in the narrative is to show that Jesus is a prophet like Moses, Elijah, Isaiah and so on.
Indeed, but don't stop there SBF. As we know the gospels were produced some two decades after the death of Jesus. Christianity was not just attempting to convince other Jews (or, converts to Judaism) but was also attempting to convince other peoples of Jesus' existence and power. To do that Jesus had to be portrayed as a miracle worker on par with the Greek-Roman traditions of divinity.
I'm not sure what more God could have done to prove his existence, and his love of a good party trick.
Moses had some good ones, but Jesus was the personification of Gods awesome party tricks. Jesus proved beyond all doubt and verified that Jehovah is the God of party tricks.
The following is not meant to advocate a certain religious view or to challenge or disrespect the views of others who are not religious or do not believe in Jesus. Whereas some of what follows below may include comments regarding my own convictions, not all should be read as if it necessarily represents my personal views on the matter. The main objective is to demonstrate the failure behind the Jehovah's Witnesses' claim that the miracles of Jesus are meant to be some type of proof and that the New Testament accounts are meant to be historic reports of these.
As you have probably guessed by now, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are very backward when it comes to understanding what the Bible is for and how the reports of the miracles of Jesus fit in with everything.
The first reports of the miracles pre-date the written gospels of the New Testament. The first of the Christian Scriptures to be written was Galatians (approximately in A.D. 54 or 55) followed by the other Pauline epistles (what Witnesses call “letters”). Outside of speaking of Christ rising from the dead in passing in the greeting found in the opening verse, the next mention of a specific miracle is found in Galatians 1.12 in which St. Paul mentions that he learned the gospel through a direct revelation from the resurrected Jesus, an event which occurred sometime after the crucifixion and accounts written in any of the gospels.
In fact, the stories of Jesus’ miracles predated any of the written gospel accounts and, outside of the epistles (both canonical and non-canonical), consisted mostly of Apostolic Oral Tradition and early hymns (or canitcles). One of the earliest Christian hymns which mention the miracle of Christ’s resurrection is quoted in Colossians 1.15-20.
It appears that the Oral Traditions did not originally appear in the first written gospel records. Matthew, for example, was originally a “sayings” source or gospel of “oracles” of Jesus. This was later redacted into the book of Matthew we now have, where the oracles or sayings of Jesus (which occur in lengthy discourse layouts) are divided by the “wonders” or miracles performed by Jesus in what appears to be a very specific format. The finalized version of Matthew opens with a narrative filled with miracles, followed by a lengthy discourse by Jesus, then another narrative filled with miracles, followed by more oracles, etc., to create what appears to be a five-section work.
Mark’s gospel is very different. It is almost all about miracles performed by Jesus. And in this gospel Jesus constantly tells those he performs miracles on not to publicize what he has done for them. A “hidden” or “mysterious” Messianic figure is presented here in which the miracles are not proofs of Jesus’ identity but actions of service.
In John, only the miracles which fit the pattern of “signs” that prove Jesus’ divinity are chosen, with each specifically meant to demonstrate why Jesus is the God who was with God in the beginning (John 1.1). Here is where Jehovah’s Witnesses make a grave error in confusing the first “sign” of John chapter 2 (the miracle of turning water to wine at the wedding of Cana) as the first historical miracle. In reality, the first miracles performed by Jesus before his apostles had to do with creating a great catch of fish. (Luke 5.1-11) This demonstrates that each of the gospel writers had different reasons for including the miracles of Jesus in their works, and that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are very incorrect for claiming they are included in the gospels mainly as proofs of Jesus’ identity.
The main reason for this Watchtower mistake is the fact that the gospel accounts were composed for liturgical reading purposes, not as the ultimate accounts or testimonies of Jesus’ works and miracles. Justin Martyr described Christian worship services, writing in the 150s: “On the day called after the sun there takes place a meeting….The memoirs of the apostles are read, as are the writings of the prophets….When the reader has finished, the president (leading presbyter) in his speech, admonishes and urges all to imitate these worthy examples….Bread is brought, with wine mixed with water to the president….We do not receive them as ordinary bread and ordinary wine, but as Jesus Christ our Savior.” This is a description of what the rest of Christianity calls “the Liturgy.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses have no liturgy. They take the Bible writings to be exhaustive compendiums and the final ultimate form of revelation from God. The early Church, however, saw itself as the deposit of Christ’s teachings, not the writings they produced. The Scriptures were used as a means to proclaim specific apostolic “memoirs” during liturgical services, not as a dictate to the Church as to what it was to believe. “The church,” not the Bible, is the “pillar and foundation of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3.15) The early Church took from its own deposit what miracles to include in the Scriptures it wrote for its liturgy, and the writers of the Gospels even state they did not include all the Church had come to know about Christ.--John 20.30, 21.25.
The miracles in themselves prove many things, such as Jesus love for us, his power of sickness and death, and sometimes who he was. But they were not limited to being “proofs” or novelties. If they were then Jesus would have told everyone to publicize each and every miracle he performed, which the gospel of Mark makes clear Jesus did not do. Even the miracle of the resurrection is spoken of by Jesus as not being effective enough to break through hearts that did not want to believe God’s earlier testimony.--Note Luke 16.31.
I want to stress that there are other possible reasons for the miracles, and that most of my experience is limited to what I’ve learned as a Catholic since leaving the Witnesses. I also want to repeat that by writing any of this I in no way mean to dismiss the views of those who do not believe in Jesus or who do not believe in God. Non-religious people may have very valid arguments to add as well. I am merely writing why the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ view on the miracles as if they are some type of proof about Jesus and that the Scriptures alone are the ultimate authority on them does not coincide with much of the evidence or the oldest and longest-held views on the matter.
I want to stress that there are other possible reasons for the miracles,
See my post above.
It proves that "tall tales" have existed for a very long time. Maybe Jesus really existed; maybe not. But his greatness has definitely been exaggerated, just like that of Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed in America.
It's the tall-tales of Marvel of his day ... like Captain America fighting on your side against the nazis, he was the super-hero fighting the Romans and the other Jewish factions ... proof that their faction was the one true group that everyone had to follow.
Except Marvel comics are well written and awesomely illustrated. The Bible is literally the crappest story ever cobbled together (until Twighlight anf the 50 Shades of Grey fan-fiction abomination that it spawned)
The character of the “god-man saviour” existed for millennia before the name “Jesus”was appended to it. They were all born in a cave, of miraculous birth with oxen present, performed miracles including giving sight to the blind and raising the dead, had twelve followers, died sacrificially etc etc.
Since the character of the god-man saviour was a pagan folk tale and a theatrical persona with counterparts in all middle eastern religions, the idea of such a man was in the minds of the population already in the first century.
If you believe in Jesus as a real person, answer this question; how likely is it that Harry Potter will come to life as a real person?
For those are precisely the same odds of Jesus being a real person. No doubt this is why the Roman authorities in the early centuries thought the Jesus cults to be ignorant and mischievous with their stupid ideas because they taught the most preposterous things such as a god-man coming to life in Judea. What a brilliant rumour for the downtrodden and gullible......and what a potential market in priestly spiritual advising!
As a footnote to demonstrate the universality of the god-man saviour story, by the fourth century, opportunistic Judean tourist guides were taking the Jesus faithful to a cave and not a stable as the purported birthplace of the messiah...because as everyone knew; god-men were born in caves. Caves of course were very convenient for stabling animals. Remember that by the fourth century the Bible had only just been compiled and was not distributed as was the case after the invention of moveable type a thousand years later........... but the folk tales with the idea of a cave, were there in the folk consciousness.
Everyone knows Jesus grew up in Nazareth. Nazareth was a thriving small community by the fourth century but but as archeologists have shown and contemporary maps and the absence of contemporary references indicate; it did not even exist as a place in the first century... yet the gospels claim it was where Jesus lived as the son of a carpenter. Carpenters need tools and a workshop and a market. Like Nazareth in the first century; Jesus, Joseph and Mary too were stories, not historical realities.
The miracles were stories for the gullible to believe that God was revealing himself to them.