April 9, 1997 ~ Pickering Standard Church


MIRACLE - An event in the external world brought about by the immediate agency or the simple volition of God, operating without the use of means capable of being discerned by the senses, and designed to authenticate the divine commission of a religious teacher and the truth of his message. It is an occurrence at once above nature and above man. It shows the intervention of a power that is not limited by the laws either of matter or of mind, a power interrupting the fixed laws which govern their movements, a supernatural power.


Various programs in the past to de-mythologize the Bible in attempts to discover the "historical Jesus" - revealing disbelief with regard to the facts and falling upon subsequent enhancement to lend credulity to an otherwise normal, un-exciting story. Miracles were integral to Jesus' ministry, they were the authentication of His office. 


John 5:36 - I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me.


To remove all record of miracles from the gospels (as well as the remainder of the Bible) reduces the Christian faith in an omnipotent God to nothing and, in fact, renders the entire Biblical account suspect.


Miracles served also to lend credibility to Jesus' message, with the result that the observers would put their faith in Him.


John 2:11 - This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.


John 2:23 - Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name.


Belief that miracles (and other "super-natural" events such as prophecy and speaking in tongues) no longer occur as they were instituted for the apostolic age only - showing lack of faith in the eternal power of God and an attempt to justify the lack of it in one's own life. Miracles did not only occur in the apostolic age, the time of Jesus and subsequently of His immediate followers; in fact, a case may be made that each conversion of a lost soul to life is itself a miracle. The Bible is filled with the miraculous, almost every page breathes the power of God to work in His creation as He wills. God is certainly able to work today as He has in ages past, and at no time in any discussion of miracles in the Bible is any hint laid that they will cease at any other time than the second coming.


John 14:12 - I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.


Yet it is apparent that miracles do occur less frequently today than in Biblical times, why? There are several reasons, here are several  in brief:


1) Lack of faith. We quite often simply have no faith that God will perform great deeds through us.


Matthew 21:21 - Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done."


James 1:6 - But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.


2) Suspension of belief. We live in a rationalistic age, where man is generally accepting only of what may be touched by the senses. Reality beyond the sensual is doubted due to lack of empirical evidence. Lack of belief occurred in Jesus' day too, due to the familiarity that many had with His rather humble and normal family.


Mark 6:1-6 - Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. "Where did this man get these things?" they asked. "What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him.


Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor." He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.


3) There may not be as great a need for miracles today as in days past. Note that this is different than saying that supernatural intervention in the affairs of man ended with the apostolic age in that there may have been a greater need for miracles in the days of the apostles than there is today due to the general lack of knowledge about God in most of the world. Miracles designed to authenticate the ministry of Christ are no longer necessary as He is now in Heaven with His Father, His work as prophet/messenger has been completed, it is His work as High Priest/intercessor with which He is now occupied.


Even so, not all miraculous occurrences are guaranteed to have their origin in God.


Matthew 24:24 - For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect— if that were possible.


Revelation 13:11-15 - Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.


1 John 4:1 - Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.