Signs and Wonders: Disability in the Fourth Gospel

  • Ben Rhodes, Ph.D.
Keywords: disability, faith, healing, John, Gospel of John, sign, signs and wonders


Traditional interpretations of the significance of the miraculous healings in the four Gospels have often contributed to the complicated experiences people affected by disabilities have encountered in Christian communities. A more careful examination of these texts, especially in the Gospel of John, challenges these interpretations and opens up space for new insights into the liberating and counter-cultural force of the gospel. The Fourth Gospel’s nuanced understanding of signs and faith provides a frame for understanding the relationship between the sign stories in John 5 and 9—of the man at Bethesda and the man born blind, respectively, both affected by what we would now call disability. These stories help us to grasp the true relationship between miracles and faith, and demonstrate that people affected by disability are critical for understanding the Christian view of healing.

Author Biography

Ben Rhodes, Ph.D.

Dr. Ben Rhodes is the Director of Academic Engagement for The Christian Institute on Disability at the Joni and Friends International Disability Center.

How to Cite
Rhodes, B. (2016). Signs and Wonders: Disability in the Fourth Gospel. Journal of the Christian Institute on Disability, 5(1), 53-76. Retrieved from