BLOG 11 September 26, 2016 MIRACLES NEVER CEASE!
Robert Wise explores the world of divine intervention from an objective point of view. How can 21st Century people understand how the hand of God touches people in today’s world?
Read and you’ll find new insights.
In previous blogs I related my conversations with struggling people about their healings and experiences. They knew a force that Christians called the Holy Spirit had invaded their lives and filled them with a renewal that often literally saved their lives. The emotional pain and their fear of death was usually gone. A divine encounter had changed their future.
How do we understand such an occurrence?
The context for insight into such miraculous events is in the scripture. Both the Old and New Testaments are filled with these amazing occasions. More importantly, the Bible gives us a larger picture for our understanding. As I talked with people who I considered legitimate, I’ve found that their “happenings” fit biblical categories that explain why miracles occur.
The Old Testament tells us that a miracle is a sign. The Greek word σήμεoν suggests that events like Moses’s struggle with Pharaoh, crossing the Red Sea (the Sea of Reeds), the Exodus itself, were all signs of the reality of God. This Greek word is used 73 times in the New Testament as well. We find it ten times in Matthew, 23 in Mark, 10 in Luke, 24 times in John, and 13 signs in the Book of Acts. Miracles were a sign.
In the New Testament, the birth of the Messiah came with a total uniqueness. When the shepherds came running to see the baby, their appearance was a sign to Mary. In John’s Gospel, miracles are messianic. Whether it be turning water into wine at Cana, or feeding the multitude, John made it clear that what Jesus accomplished was a sign that he was the Messiah they had been seeking.
In all of these instances, something had occurred that told observers that the intervention was not an ordinary act of nature. It was a sign of the presence of God. Beyond the influence of man, the events came from God and put a new responsibility on the observer. These signs kept pointing beyond themselves to the One who was the true source of life. They were humbling and produced obedience.
Let us be clear: A sign is not a miracle; a miracle is a sign. There are many signs throughout scripture that were not all understood by observers. However, when an authentic miracle occurred, it was a sign that pointed beyond the miraculous experience to the transcendent God, a sign that the Holy Spirit was clearly working in lives.
This recognition of the miracle as a sign does not end with the Gospel’s story. As the Apostle’s ministries were recorded in the Book of Acts, their stories were filled with the miraculous. Acts 4:16 and 22 tells the reader that the unbelieving Jewish leaders even recognized that the works of the Apostles were “signs.” The Sanhedrin feared that these signs had the power to establish faith.
They do and continue to do so today.
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