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 (Q and A on Biblical Doctrines)
Chapter 16: Miracles
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Q1 What are miracles?

The Compact Oxford English Dictionary defines a miracle as “an extraordinary and welcome event attributed to a divine agency”. In truth, we constantly see God’s extraordinary deeds around us in nature and throughout the universe. But every now and then, we come across special miracles that add to our understanding of His almighty power. 

Q2 Can we view all natural phenomena as miracles?

Apostle Paul says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Rom 1:20). Everything in the universe originates with God, and what we often take for granted as natural phenomena are in fact His gracious miracles. They testify to the fact that He is both real and omnipotent. 

            But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
And the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you;
And the fish of the sea will explain to you.
Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the Lord has done this,
In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?

            Job 12:7–10 

Q3 What do miracles reveal about God?

Miracles reveal the glory, power and compassion of God and of Jesus Christ, His Son:

• When the Israelites turned aside to idols during the time of Elijah, God performed a miracle to demonstrate His power and to show that He was the true God: He sent fire down from heaven to burn up a sacrifice prepared by the prophet. As a result, the people fell on their faces, crying, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” (1 Kgs 18:39).

• During His ministry, Jesus revealed His compassion through miracles that targeted the physical and spiritual needs of the people. For example, He cast out demons, healed the sick, cleansed lepers, raised the dead, made the blind to see and fed five thousand people.

• The miracles that revealed the glory of God included Jesus turning water into wine in Cana (Jn 2:11); Jesus raising Lazarus (Jn 11:40); Peter healing a lame man (Acts 4:21).

Q4 Do all Christians believe in them?

Today, there are some Christians who accept the teachings of Jesus, but doubt that He actually performed miracles. Such a stance has a number of problematic implications. The first is the denial of Jesus’ divinity and power. The Gospels clearly show that, aside from being an authoritative teacher, He also had the power to cast out demons, heal the sick and control nature. The second implication is a disregard for the Lord’s promise to give signs[1] to confirm the true gospel (Mk 16:17–18, 20). The third implication is the denial of the greatest miracle of all—His resurrection. Jesus Himself spoke of this miracle as “the sign[2] of Jonah” (Lk 11:29). It demonstrated His power over death and the fact that He is justifiably the Saviour of mankind. To all those who disbelieve His resurrection, Paul has this to say:

            And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

            1 Corinthians 15:17–19       

Q5 Are they relevant to the church today?

Miracles testify to God’s glory, power and mercy. Therefore, they have a rightful place in His church. It is significant that when Jesus sent His disciples out to preach, He gave them the power to cast out demons and to heal the sick (Lk 9:1–2). Also, before His ascension, Jesus said, “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly,  it will by no means hurt them;  they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mk 16:17–18). The fact is, signs and miracles confirm the authenticity of the gospel and prove that the church belongs to God (Mk 16:20).

Q6 What purpose do they serve?

Miracles play an important part in God’s ministry. They:

• prove that Jesus is from God (Mt 14:22–33; Jn 3:2; 5:36; 10:37–38).

• testify of true apostleship (2 Cor 12:12).

• confirm the authenticity of the gospel (Mk 16:20; Acts 14:3; Heb 2:3–4).

• lead people to believe in the Lord (Ex 4:30–31; Jn 4:48; 12:9–11; Acts 5:12–14; 9:36–42; 13:6–12; Rom 15:18–19).

• dispel doubt (Mt 11:2–5).

• have the power to confound those who oppose the gospel (Acts 4:14–16).

• reveal God’s glory, power and goodness (Mk 2:1–12; Jn 9:1–3; 11:1–4; Acts 10:38).

• glorify God’s name (1 Chron 17:21; Isa 63:12; Jer 32:20; Mk 1:27–28; Acts 19:16–17).

• show that Jesus has forgiven a person’s sin (Mk 2:9–12).

• convince people to depart from wrongdoing (Acts 19: 13–20).

• will cause the unrepentant to be judged (Mt 11:20–24).

• frustrate the work of the devil (Ex 7:8–12; Acts 8:9–13; 13:8–12).

The most important purpose of miracles is to bring people to Christ. Unfortunately, not everyone will respond in a positive way, as Jesus Himself discovered when He performed mighty miracles in certain cities (Mt 11:20–24). However, anyone who fails to repent despite witnessing the power of God faces judgment, because there is no excuse for their unbelief.

Q7 Apart from the workers of God, can anyone else perform miracles?

Jesus warned His disciples, “For false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Mt 24:24). These words came true not long after the early church was established, for we learn of people like Simon the sorcerer who attracted a great following in Samaria and was acclaimed as “the great power of God” (Acts 8:10). However, even Simon converted to Christ and was baptized; then, it was his turn to be amazed by the power of God (Acts 8:13). 

False prophets and christs make use of the power of Satan to perform “signs and lying wonders” to deceive and confuse people (2 Thess 2:9). However, these false miracles will not stand the test of time and will be revealed for what they are. God’s power always triumphs—just as it did when Moses prevailed over Pharaoh’s magicians (Ex 7:8–12) and when Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal (1 Kgs 18:20–39).

Q8 Why are they seldom seen nowadays?

Miracles will only occur when two conditions are fulfilled. Firstly, the church must have the abidance of God’s Spirit. We see the importance of this condition from Peter’s testimony about Jesus: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). Secondly, the church needs to have the authority of God, in the same way that the disciples had the authority of Jesus, enabling them to heal the sick and to cast out unclean spirits (Mt 10:1; Lk 10:19). Today, God has given this authority to the church that preaches according to the Bible, because miracles confirm the gospel of salvation (Mk 16:15–18).


© 2012 True Jesus Church.

[1]      The Greek word for sign, semeion (G4592), has the meaning of “miracle” or “wonder”.

[2]      Here, the word semeion is used again.

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