While the Bible describes God working miracle throughout history, it must be noted Jesus performed miracles which were never done by others:
Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. (John 9:32 ESV)
Two miracles during the Exodus involved crossing bodies of water: at the Red Sea and then at the Jordan River. In both, the water was parted. Jesus did something greater:
And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. (Matthew 14:25; also Mark 6:48 and John 6:19)
The Israelites walked on dry land. Jesus walked on water without getting wet. He also showed the power to get others across water without the need of dry land:
28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. (Matthew 14)
Jesus was not just "another" miracle worker. Jesus worked unique miracles, setting Him apart from all others, before and after.
It is important to consider all Peter said about the miracles:
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
Peter states the miracles Jesus did were done while being anointed with the Holy Spirit. So if miracles are going to be used as a "test" of deity, the correct use of miracles is to compare those done with the Holy Spirit. The OT has only one miracle which includes the Holy Spirit:
11 Then they remembered the ancient days, c-Him, who pulled his people-c out [of the water]: "Where is He who brought them up from the Sea along with the shepherdd of His flock? Where is He who put in their midst His holy spirit, 12 who made His glorious arm
march at the right hand of Moses,
who divided the waters before them
to make Himself a name for all time,
13 who led them through the deeps
so that they did not stumble-as a horse in the desert,
14 like a beast descending to the plain?"
'Twas the Spirit of the LORD e-gave them rest;-e
thus did You shepherd Your people
to win for Yourself a glorious name (Isaiah 63 NJPS)
c-c Hebrew moshe 'ammo, a play on the name Moshe (Moses)
d. So many mss. and ancient versions; other texts "shepherds."
e-e Emendation yields "guided them."
The "test" of miracles done with the presence of the Holy Spirit limits the comparison to one: parting and crossing the Red Sea.
In the Jewish Study Bible, Benjamin D. Sommer explains how this passage may be understood in different ways:
11: They (Hebrew "he") remembered: The subject of this verb is not clear: "He" may refer to God or to the nation as a collective. It is also possible to translate, "He who pulled his people out [of the water] remembered the ancient days," but even then it is not clear whether "He who pulled..." refers to God or Moses. Where is He who brought... The identity of the speaker here through 14a is not clear. One possibility is that the Judeans speak, wondering where their savior is (so most rabbinic commentators). Alternatively, God may ask these questions, as if saying, "Long ago I saved Israel-whatever became of that side of Me?" In that case, vv. 11b-14 mark the beginning of God's movement from wrath to grace. Along with, alternatively, "Specifically." Shepherd of His flock: The flock is the nation Israel; the shepherd is either Moses or God. (If the translation "shepherds" found in the translator's note d is correct, then this word refers to Moses and Aaron and perhaps to Miriam).
There are alternate ways to treat the passage but when the description in Exodus is considered, the miracle was done by God. The capitalization in the translation of the Jewish Publication Society reflects their belief the LORD, YHVH, performed the miracle.
In addition to parting the water Isaiah includes two additional terms, shepherd and glorious name. Both of these terms are used to describe God. These too describe Jesus: shepherd (John 10:11-16; Hebrew 13:20, 1 Peter 2:25, 5:4) and glorious name (Philippians 2:9-10; Hebrews 1:4).
Peter's Full Speech
There are other aspects of Peter's speech which should be taken into consideration:
- Jesus is the Word (10:36)
- Jesus is Lord of All (10:36)
- The miracles of Jesus were specifically on those oppressed by the devil (10:38)
- Ate and drank with Him after being raised from the dead (10:41)
- The one appointed to judge the living and the dead (10:42)
- His name brings forgiveness of sins (10:43)
How would a non-Jew understand these attributes Peter uses to describe Jesus? A Roman Centurion understands the title Lord as one of divinity. It is how they are to call Caesar, the God-man ruling the Empire. Forgiving sins and judging both the living and the dead are things only God can do.
Finally, no where does Peter make reference to the Father. He only speaks of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God. In fact, the verse in question implies the Holy Spirit is God:
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God [the Holy Spirit] was with him.
Isaiah 63 strongly suggests the deity of one who works miracles with the Holy Spirit. In his letter, Peter reinforces the connection to Isaiah:
For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:25)
And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
(1 Peter 5:4)
In addition, a Roman Centurion would likely understand the other things Peter says about Jesus as indicating His position as God. Finally, as the Holy Spirit was given while Peter was speaking, the lack of "Father" in Peter's speech can only mean God is Son, Spirit, and Father.
1. Benjamin D. Sommer, The Jewish Study Bible, Edited by Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler, Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 929