Understanding Miracles

Understanding Miracles…

In Luke’s Gospel, we have seen Jesus performing many miracles (cf. Lk. 7:22-23). Seeing this, I would like to highlight three important points we need to understand about miracles in the Bible.

1. Miracles are about confirming the Word of God
When Moses was called by God in Ex. 3-4 to be God’s messenger to the people of Israel and Pharaoh, Moses was concerned that the people won’t believe him, “they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you” (Ex. 4:1). Consequently, God gave Moses numerous extra-ordinary signs (a leprous hand, water turning to blood and the staff turning into a serpent) to confirm that Moses is really God’s messenger and that his message is from God.
In the same way, John’s Gospel begins in Jn. 1:1-18 to affirm that Jesus is “the Word of God”, the ultimate messenger and message of God. Throughout John’s Gospel, the Apostle John recorded numerous miracles/signs that Jesus performed. The reason for all these miracles? John tells us in Jn. 20:31, “These are written (all these signs and words of Jesus) so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name”. Miracles, in both the Old and New Testament, are about authenticating the Word of God… demonstrating in power that it is true.
2. Miracles are about showing God’s supremacy
In Exodus, Pharaoh made the challenge to Moses, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go?” (Ex. 5:2). Pharaoh believed that he had power over Israel (even believing himself to be a god). Through the 10 extra-ordinary mighty acts of God (and the parting of the Red Sea), God showed Pharaoh (and Israel) that He alone is God; as Israel sang in Ex. 15:11, “Who among the gods is like you, o LORD? Who is like you – majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” The answer? None. Only Yahweh is God. He is supreme.
Similarly, Jesus made the astonishing claim that He is the King of God’s Kingdom (Lk. 4:18-21). In line with this claim, Jesus performed numerous miracles to show that He is indeed God’s King (cf. Lk. 7:22-23; 11:20). He showed His supremacy over the spirit realm (Lk. 11:17-23), creation (Lk. 8:24-25) and the effects of the Fall (Lk. 7:22-23). He is supreme. Miracles, in both the Old and New Testament, are about showing God’s supremacy.
3. The Greatest Miracle is People trusting in God’s Word and Supremacy
According to the Bible, the most extra-ordinary work of God is conversion; when men and women place their trust in and follow Jesus. At that moment, says John 1:12-13, someone has become “born of God”. The transformation is so incredible/extra-ordinary that Paul describes it as someone becoming a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17).
Theologian Robert Culver puts it this way, “The conversion of every sinner is a supernatural event in that the Spirit of the Father in concert with the Word of God plants spiritual life in a soul in a way that is contrary to the workings of ordinary life – human or otherwise”. Should we expect miracles today? Yes, especially when we share the Gospel.

Carel Pienaar