Or is it “Signs or Miracles”?
That’s the question in a recent debate I witnessed the other day. It began with a simple question from the moderator which went, “Why does John use the word “signs” in his Gospel rather than the word “miracles”? The responses were varied from, “I didn’t know there was a difference” to, “There is no difference,” and a few places in between. One person hit on the key, though, I think. She said that “signs” is used because the events points to Christ and His divinity. “Miracles” is used to describe events that were merely miraculous. She was, of course, immediately ridiculed for this remark . That’s often what happens when one is right.
I say this because the conversation was on the verge of getting nasty before the moderator stepped in to quiet the rhetoric that was getting a tad hot. So, to cut to the chase, I was left wondering if it was just a bit of translator license in which the translator merely chose to use the word “signs” to make a point instead of the word “miracles” as he does in other places. That was the argument of the ridiculor. He said that it just means “miracle”. That didn’t feel right to me. My gut was telling me that he was mistaken for all of his air of sophisticated study. I was left with the feeling that he felt threatened by being upstaged by a woman and that was why he was trying to tear her down instead of welcoming the learning opportunity. Being who I am, I got out my resources and delved into this issue of “signs” and/or miracles. Once again, I knew what I thought/felt was the right answer, but I wanted to know for sure. What DOES the Bible say?