When Jesus had performed many miracles the religious leaders and others still did not believe in him. Jesus then spoke to his disciples using a quote from Isaiah and applying it to himself. In john 12:37-40 we read, “Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.” The “arm of the Lord” phrase shows up three times in Isaiah but it seems the quote that Jesus is referring to comes from Chapter 53 which is the most famous of the messianic passages. Isaiah 53:1, begins the chapter saying, “Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Further the Psalmist sings about the “arm of the Lord.” Psalm 118:15-16 calls it the “right arm of the Lord.” It says, “Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly. The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things! The strong right arm of the Lord is raised in triumph. The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things!” Isaiah and the Psalmist both set forth the prophecy concerning the Messiah so that the people would see Jesus as the one the Bible promised from the beginning. But, like today, even the marvelous works of God do not evoke faith in everyone.

All the mighty works, miracles, that Jesus performed were motivated to bring people to recognize Him for who He truly was. He was the Lord, Himself, manifested to us in the flesh. He was the promised “Immanuel” (God with us) that we celebrate in the Christmas season! Jesus even told those who did not believe in Him to look at the miracles, the mighty deeds, and let the mighty deeds speak to them about the one who performs them. He did not simply change water to wine to show off. He did not give sight to the blind, healing to the lame and sick because he felt sorry for them and wanted to help. All the miracles that Jesus performed were performed in order to open the hearts and minds to Him and to bring salvation to all who would believe. Jesus condemned the ones who followed him just to get the free bread or to learn how to perform miracles themselves. He wanted their faith! He wanted them to trust Him. It’s not about the miracles themselves, rather it’s about the miracle worker. God has revealed himself to us in the person of His son, Jesus.

The “arm of the Lord” is Jesus’ arm! This was clearly seen in the miracle where Jesus brings Peter to walk on the water. Peter saw Jesus walking on the water coming toward them who were in the boat and called out for Jesus to let him also walk on the water. Jesus simply told Peter to come out of the boat and do it! Without question Peter did climb out of the boat and walk on the water, at least for a few minutes. Then Matthew 14:30-31 tells us, “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’”. I like to think that Jesus used the hand at the end of his “right arm.” Just as the Lord’s right arm was powerful enough to save Peter it is also powerful enough to save us through all the storms of life along with the ultimate demise into the sea of death. We can relax in His hand and trust His intention and ability. He will not let us drown. Arthur Pink said it like this, “One of the outstanding glories of the gospel is its promise of eternal security to all who truly believe it. The gospel presents no third-rate physician who is competent to treat only the milder cases, but one who heals all manner of sickness, who is capable of curing the most desperate cases. It proclaims no feeble redeemer, but one who is mighty to save.”