So if we refuse this great way of being saved, how can we hope to escape? The Lord himself was the first to tell about it, and people who heard the message proved to us that it was true. God himself showed that his message was true by working all kinds of powerful miracles and wonders. He also gave his Holy Spirit to anyone he chose to. - Hebrews 2:3-4
What is a miracle?
A miracle is anything that God does in the world that is out of the ordinary. We sometimes have trouble identifying miracles because they are always unexpected.
Why does God perform miracles?
God performs miracles (sometimes called signs and wonders) to get our attention, to teach us lessons, and to confirm his word.
It is possible to see a miracle and miss the point entirely. The people who ate the food that Jesus provided to the 5,000 certainly saw a miracle take place, and they identified who had done it. But they missed the point.
What is the gift of miracles?
God can perform a miracle as the result of anyone’s prayer, but there are some people who are given a special anointing or gift of performing miracles so that they can carry out their calling. These people will see extraordinary things happen as they minister.
How do miracles function in the proclamation of the gospel?
When Peter spoke on the day of Pentecost, he said:
Now, listen to what I have to say about Jesus from Nazareth. God proved that he sent Jesus to you by having him work miracles, wonders, and signs. All of you know this. -- Acts 2:22
The signs help to confirm the gospel message. We cannot be sure that something that appears wonderful to us is a sign of God’s favor. In Deuteronomy we are told that even if a prophet gives a sign, and that sign is fulfilled, and then he tells us to worship other gods we should not follow. But the combination of God’s message with confirmation by signs and wonders is a signature of God’s activity.
Do miracles continue in the church?
Each believer must use discernment in listening to miracle claims. People can easily claim miracles. But the early disciples continued with this power, it was promised to the church, and it continues in the church today.
Be careful that you look at what God is pointing you to. The miracle is a sign—it points you to God. If you see only the miraculous event and do not lift your eyes to see God and his message, it’s just an exciting event.
Anyone who has the gift of miracles should be careful to give God the credit, just as the early disciples did. It is not you, but God, who is working. It is not your agenda, but God’s, that must be followed.
What are some Biblical miracles and what did they point to?
Elijah - brought down fire from heaven. This was not to show simply that God could bring down fire, but rather to point the Israelites to the one true God.
Water to wine - shows that God is interested in the little joys of life, but also symbolized the new spiritual wine that Jesus was about to pour out for his people.
Healing of the man born blind - shows God’s healing power, but also illustrates spiritual blindness, and how Jesus is willing to open our spiritual eyes.
Raising of Lazarus - shows Jesus as the Lord not only of life, but of death. Mary and Martha thought that Jesus could only save Lazarus if he was present before death. Jesus showed that his power was not so limited.
Resurrection of Jesus -tells us that Satan’s power is broken forever. Our salvation is the GREATEST miracle of all!
Jesus answered, “I tell you for certain that you are not looking for me because you saw the miracles, but because you ate all the food you wanted. Don’t work for food that spoils. Work for food that gives eternal life. The Son of Man will give you this food, because God the Father has given him the right to do so.” “What exactly does God want us to do?” the people asked. Jesus answered, “God wants you to have faith in the one he sent.” -- John 6:26-29
All scripture quotations taken from the Contemporary English Version, Copyright © 1995 American Bible Society.
Copyright © 2005, Henry E. Neufeld
Taken from the Participatory Study Series