Who would not like to see or experience a no-sham, no-scam miracle? Or even perform one?
This longing seems to be part of our human nature. Pharaoh, the unbelieving Jews, and Herod all wanted to see some great sign, and Simon the sorcerer was willing to pay money to be able to exercise the power of God (Acts 8:18).
Christianity is the religion of miracles, and without them it cannot stand.
Christianity is the religion of miracles, and without them it cannot stand. We know Jesus’ earthly life involved them (His incarnation, virgin birth, transfiguration, resurrection); during His earthly ministry He did many miraculous signs–all providing proof that He is the Son of God and the Christ, with the power both to heal bodies and to forgive sins.
Likewise, power was given to Jesus’ disciples to heal (some even before Pentecost). After Pentecost, the Book of The Acts of the Apostles is filled with accounts of miracles done by those who walked the Jesus Way. Peter and John healed a cripple in the name of Jesus Christ, even as “through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people” (Acts 5:12). Philip performed miracles among the Samaritans. The apostle Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, struck Elymas the sorcerer blind for “perverting the straight ways of the Lord” (Acts 13:8). In Acts chapter 14, Paul and Barnabas healed a cripple and were acclaimed as gods; but the apostle begged the people to turn to the Living God, the Creator of all, and not to them as mere men. Later, the congregation at Jerusalem heard Paul’s report on the “many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles” (Acts 15:12). Some were not spectacular, as when articles of clothing that had touched Paul’s body were taken to the sick, after which “the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them” (Acts 19:12).
Truly, the time after the event of Pentecost was the age of miracles. We might think, “If only we could have lived during that golden age!”
There seems little doubt that these physical miracles tapered off dramatically after the days of the apostles. If they were done to establish the early Christian Church by substantiating God’s Word and showing the power of Christ Jesus—dead, but now arisen!—then we can understand why such miracles are no longer needed. We have Holy Scripture as power and proof enough.
But hold on. This is still the New Testament age of Pentecost! And did not Jesus promise that the person who believes in Him will do greater works than He Himself did? Indeed He did!
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the work that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father”
It’s important to keep in mind that these “greater works” done by any Christian are miracles done in the realm of the spiritual. Lazarus being physically raised from the dead by Jesus was a great miracle, but all people are by nature spiritually dead in trespasses and sin, and to be brought to life and fellowship with God, to be reborn a new creature by the Holy Spirit is a “great work” for sure, a flat-out miracle! And the Savior said Christian believers can do them—even more than He Himself did while He walked on Earth.
Proof? After Peter preached one Pentecost sermon, 3,000 souls were brought to faith by the power and grace of God (see Acts 2). The other apostles and evangelists likewise proclaimed the gospel of the living and exalted Savior, and the Christian Church spread among the Gentiles like an unstoppable prairie fire.
Yes, it is still the age of Pentecost. The gospel is still the power of God unto conversion and salvation, for it is the tool of the Holy Spirit. Christian friend, proclaim the gospel and then stand back–ready for a miracle of grace, for God’s Word never returns empty to Him but always accomplishes His purposes (see Isaiah 55:11). All it takes is Christian people eagerly wanting to be involved in bringing sinners to Christ—in seeing hard hearts of stone turned into repentant hearts–redeemed, justified, and alive in Christ Jesus to the glory of God.
But let’s take care not to get caught up in ourselves. Have you ever seen self-proclaimed miracle workers do their stuff on TV?
But let’s take care not to get caught up in ourselves. Have you ever seen self-proclaimed miracle workers do their stuff on TV? With great fanfare they shout at the sick, sometimes pushing and punching them with such force that they fall backward to the floor. It seems that the “miracle-worker” is willing to receive credit for some claimed healing.
Remember how Moses did that one time (see Numbers 20)? He shouted and struck a rock twice when God had told him to simply speak to the rock. Water came forth. Yet because Moses did not give all the credit to God but claimed some for himself, he was not allowed to set foot inside the promised land of Canaan.
So we are instructed to simply speak the Word and to give God all honor and glory; then be prepared to see how the Holy Spirit sends the water of life flowing from Jesus, the Rock of our salvation, into thirsty souls.
Fellow Christians, let’s be about this blessed work. After all, it is Pentecost, the age for such miracles!
Post Categories Devotions,From the CLC President,Reformation