<<wonders, signs, mighty acts>>
Salvation is the greatest miracle of all
or considering nothing is a miracle. A miracle must function within the bounds of verifiable reality, to be observable (the lame walked, the blind see, etc) and this resulted in glory or praise being given to God (Mt 11:5, 15:31). There was a close link between the works and the words of Jesus. Miracles were not performed just to impress the people or draw attention to Himself but as a platform to present the words of God (Mk 8:11,12). When the lost turn to Jesus this will begin a life-long transformation from sinners to saints. Although there will remain aspects of that old nature that should be increasingly replaced by the new (Eph 4:22-24). This, the greatest miracle of all is we sinners who were doomed to hell can be adopted children of God, through the blood of Jesus, and be headed for heaven (Jn 1:12).
Jesus had a close dependency on the Father – the divine source of the miraculous power (Jn 5:19). The purpose of working miracles was to gain attention to His message, increase the people’s understanding and validate His being sent from God. Although they were amazed at the power of Jesus, many were still sceptical of who He was and did not wholeheartedly follow Him (Mt 12:38,39; Jn 2:11; Act 2:22).
God often uses our faith and obedience as the basis for His working on our behalf, for “According to your faith be it unto you” (Mt 9:29). Jesus miraculous power was restricted by the peoples lack of faith (Mk 6:5,6). Similarly today human sin and a lack of expectant faith will impede His power flowing. Do we expect, believe and pray in faith for His intervention or do we shut Him out the situations that are beyond human power to resolve? However, don’t expect God to move sovereignly unless you have done all you can (with His help) to meet the need. God may directly intervene less as we mature as His aim is geared towards shaping our heart rather than changing our circumstances, with suffering and unanswered prayer refining our faith in God regardless of the outcome.
The focus is always to be on Jesus, not any manifestation
experience. Jesus said, blessed are those who believe in Him without needing a visible demonstration that He exists and of His power (Jn 20:29).
Thus we must be aware Satan and the evil spirit realm can work deceptive magic or counterfeit miracles besides God’s genuine mighty acts (eg. Ex 7:11,22, 8:7; 2 Thes 2:9; Rev 13:13,14, 19:20). We should question the power behind all supernatural occurrences, asking is this consistent with God’s Word and purpose, is He the one who receives the glory? Even genuine Godly miracles will not convince everyone of the reality of God if their stubborn mind is fully made up for there are always doubters who have alternative explanations to what they witness (Lk 16:30,31; Act 14:3,4).
We are to ask (yet not demand) God to miraculously intervene in situations; Jesus declared various signs would accompany His followers (Mt 16:1; Mk 16:17,18; Act 4:29,30; 1 Cor 1:22, 12:28). God confirmed or backed up the preaching of the word with signs (Mk 16:20; Act 6:8, 19:11,12; Gal 3:5; Heb 2:4). While one of the listed gifts of the Spirit is the working of miracles, if our faith is dependent on signs and miracles, it is not a mature faith (1 Cor 12:4-11). We are to follow wholeheartedly, not for what He can do for us but in love and obedience regardless if He moves miraculously on our behalf or not.
He is such a creative God that He seldom operates the same way twice. One time a miracle might happen, the next our faith may be severely tried in spite of our belief. If no miracle happens, those watching on observe how we live with the issue and if we still love God regardless (Job 13:15).
Miracles are indicators of God’s power. Don’t focus just on the miracle but connect with God, the miracle maker. He won’t share His glory with anyone or anything else. Miracles are not about us, although we may be the object; they are all about God and what He does for us. When the attention is diverted from God Himself to the miracle this can become an idol. The focus should be on God and His Word rather than any manifestation of His power. The Bible is completely accurate, yet not exhaustive, about the miraculous power of God intervening on man’s behalf (Jn 21:25).
Not all miracles are spectacular or so obvious that they can be seen with the natural eye. In fact we can be unaware of many that occur in our own lives. God’s power and loving intervention working on our behalf in ways we can’t comprehend is also miraculous, especially the transformation of our minds (Rom 12:2).
If you don’t believe in miracles, perhaps you have forgotten you are one!
While God is sovereign and in complete control of everything with the ability to work miracles in our time, it is not necessary for Him to do so to demonstrate His existence. God normally acts through natural processes and His providential sustaining in daily affairs rather than spectacular or divine intervention.
Christian maturity is not about seeking some outward miracle from the Lord. We should not be preoccupied with signs and wonders but with the Word of God. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7). Even when there is no visible outward miraculous signs of God working trust and rely on who God is, rather than any outward signs He performs.
Any miraculous sign must be accompanied by a clear gospel presentation of the gospel, for it is the good news about Jesus that is the power of God that leads people to salvation (Rom 1:16; 1 Cor 1:18). The reason for the miraculous was to confirm the message. “And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs…So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands” (Mk 16:20; Act 14:3).
Although visible miracles can accompany the declaration of the gospel this is seldom the case, yet we should be proactive in praying for healing, releasing people from Satan’s control in the name of Jesus who came to give life or asking for God’s intervention in the various challenges we face in life (Mk 16:17,18; Jn 10:10, 14:13,14; 1 Jn 3:8, 5:14,15). There is nothing inappropriate in seeking miracles for the proper purposes for which they are given by God: to confirm the truthfulness of the gospel message, to bring help to those in need, to remove hindrances to people’s ministries, and to bring glory to God. Whether or not we’re privileged to witness miraculous, supernatural events, Christians can be confident that God is actively at work in the world, bringing people to Himself, bringing glory to Jesus, and building His church.
Physical restoration is normally accomplished over a period; seldom being instantaneous whereas release from evil spirits is more clear-cut although any associated behavioural habits may require time and persistent effort to be remedied. Regardless of the outcome in these infinitely minor issues that only impact our lives in this life, God miraculously provides spiritual healing – the eternal salvation of our soul.
Miracles point to Him
(Act 5:12,15, 6:8, 8:6-8, 19:12). “Signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God”, accompanied Pauls ministry of fully proclaiming the gospel and it is further recorded, “God verified the message by signs and wonders and various miracles…” (Rom 15:19; Heb 2:3,4). It is essential that thanks and acknowledgement be given for God’s intervention even though humans may have helped facilitate the outcome.
Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (Jn 14:12). Note it is whoever believes in Him, not limited to the apostles or pastors who can do the works of pointing and leading people to believe in Jesus. The greater works relates not to the power but to the effect, where thousands were converted on a single day such as on the day of Pentecost which may have been more than turned to Christ during His total earthly ministry (Act 2:41). Jesus pre-Calvary healed many people and did various miracles relating to physical life yet we as Christians presenting salvation through Christ and seeing people converted is a far more significant and eternally lasting greater work. The personal ministry of Jesus was solely centred in Judea, while in contrast the early church leaders traversed a large geographical area. Today with technologically millions can be impacted at the same moment in time.