Reason #18 The Admission by Talmud Rabbis That Jesus Worked Miracles
Jesus’ earliest enemies agreed with his earliest followers on this one very important point, that Jesus really did work miracles.
The Talmud is the authoritative representation of Jewish religious traditions from antiquity and, as such, the Talmud is understandably hostile to the Christian faith. It is highly significant, therefore, to observe the Talmud rabbis actually admitting that Jesus did miracles—an admission they would clearly prefer not to make concerning one whom they saw as a rival to their faith, even the chief rival to their faith. Since, evidently, the rabbis regarded the fact of Jesus’ miracle-working ability as indisputable, the only recourse left to them for discrediting the religion of Jesus was to attribute his miracle-working ability to dark magic.
One ancient passage in the Talmud (95-110 A.D.) states that “Jesus the Nazarene…practiced sorcery,” Sanhedrin 43a. A different passage from the same early time period repeats this admission to Jesus’ miracles: “Jesus the Nazarene…practiced magic,” Sanhedrin 107b.
Finally, perhaps the most revered rabbi in the Talmud, Eliezer Ben Hyrcanus of Lydda (late 90s-early 100s A.D.) is quoted in the Talmud this way: “Rabbi Eliezer said to the wise men, Has not Ben Stada [most probably a rabbinical name for Jesus whom the rabbis thought had a father named Stada] brought magic spells from Egypt in a scratch in his body?” Shabbot 104b.
Friendly and hostile eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life and ministry all agreed on this point—that Jesus did miracles. Furthermore, the Talmud rabbis agree with the New Testament authors that Jesus’ detractors did not question the miracle-working abilities of Jesus, only the source of those abilities. In both cases, the question was not whether Jesus could do miracles, but whether Jesus did his miracles by the power of God or the devil (Matthew 9:34; 12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15). Setting aside the debate over how Jesus came by his supernatural powers, however, we are left to conclude that in the first century, both Jesus’ friends and enemies reported exactly the same thing—that Jesus did miracles.