Listen: 62 Question 1

While it may appear that miracles do not occur very often these days, I think we probably need to re-examine our thoughts about what a miracle truly is.  Wikipedia defines a miracle this way, “A miracle is an event not ascribable to human power or the laws of nature and consequently attributed to a supernatural, especially divine, agency.”  With that definition in mind, would you not agree that the act of salvation is one of the greatest miracles of all?  People are being saved every day.  Scriptures teach us that before we were saved, we were dead.    Ephesians 2:1 tells us that before salvation, we were, “…dead in trespasses and sins.”  You might wonder how a dead man could hear the Gospel and be saved.  John 5:25 says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”  What a miracle; dead people hearing the voice of God and living!

The problem with miracles is that many people want to see a miracle before they will put their trust in the Lord.  Miracles have never, and will never, produce salvation.  Only faith, which means believing in what is not seen, can bring salvation.  In Luke 16, we have the true story of a rich man and a man named Lazarus.  Both of these men died.  Lazarus was carried into Abraham’s bosom, or Heaven; while the rich man was cast into Hell.  The rich man desired that the Lord would perform a miracle and raise Lazarus from the dead so he could tell his brothers about the tragedy of Hell.  He have the answer from Heaven in Luke 16:31 which says, “And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”  If people will not listen to the Word of God, no miracle will persuade them to believe.

In the Lord’s days on the earth, there were some who wanted to see a miracle performed by the Lord.  We read in Matthew 12:38-40, “Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”  For those who seek a miracle, or sign, the Lord said that the only sign was of Jonah.  His time of three days and nights in the belly of the great fish was a type of the Lord Jesus, Himself, being in the grave for three days, being raised on the third day.

It is true that in the early days of the Church, there were many miracles performed.  In Acts, chapter 3:1-8, we have the account of Peter and John healing a lame man in the porch of the temple.  We have these words concerning the Apostle Paul in Acts 19:11, “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul.”  We read in 2 Corinthians 12:12, “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.”  In that context, we must realize that the purpose of miracles was to authenticate the performer of the miracles.  In the early days of the Church, there was no completed Bible to read from to make sure that what was being said of the apostles was from the Lord.  So, these men were able to perform miracles to show that they were the ministers of the Lord.  However, as time went on, it seems that the need of and the ability to perform miracles began to vanish.

Consider again what we read in Acts 19:11, “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul.”  Later, we find Paul counseling young Timothy on how to cure his ailments in 1 Timothy 5:23 which says, “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.”  Even later, it seems the apostle was not able to heal a dear friend and brother in 2 Timothy 4:20, “Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.”  It appears that Paul’s ability to perform miracles went away as the scriptures began to be completed.

In our day, there is just no need for these signs, or miracles, to manifest the Lord’s presence or approval.  We have the Word of God to teach us.  We can determine the Lord’s approval by making sure our beliefs, teachings, or actions are according to the instructions of scripture.  May we learn to be like the faithful Bereans as we read in Acts 17:11, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”  We don’t need miracles today; we need the Word of God.  May we all learn to search its depths and precious truths on a daily basis.