Online Bible Study Lesson 9
Therefore Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name. John 20:30-31 NHEB.
Preliminary Bible Study Questions:
1) Do you believe in miracles?
2) Are we living in the age of miracles?
3) Does Jesus still heal today?
Wow! We made it through this course on miracles and have arrived at the end - the final lesson on miracles. We studied God's miracles in the Old Testament, and both Jesus' miracles and the Apostle's miracles in the New Testament. Now it's time to discover if we're living in the age of miracles, or if miracles were only meant for the establishment of Christ's Church. You may have arrived here because your life has spiraled out of control, leaving you distraught with no answers, crying out, "I need a miracle." You've come to the right place, my friend.
Good discussion is guaranteed on an exciting topic - modern day miracles; but, in the end, as always, we'll bow down in submission to God and his Word, accepting what he says. After all, God is the primary source of the power and glory for every true miracle.
Pray for grace and peace to fall upon us as we dig into the Scriptures and discover if God still demonstrates his power and glory through supernatural signs, wonders, and miracles.
Has God worked a miracle in YOUR life?
First of all, the question must be asked, "What are miracles?" Today, we're talking about real, biblical proportion miracles; not "miracles" that happen in the course of nature, such as a "miracle birth" or "miracle victory," etc. Alright, so what are these extraordinary, real miracles, and who performs them?
Miracles are real events or supernatural phenomena which appear to break the known scientific laws of nature.
The power source of all true miracles is the God of the Bible himself (John 3:2). He plans the miracle and providentially constructs the events leading up to his agent's performance of the miracle (Acts 19:11). Real miracles are meant to bring glory to God (John 11:4), ultimately revealing God to the eye of faith in Jesus Christ (John 2:11; 2:23).
We studied some of the great Old Testament miracles performed by Moses, Elijah, Elisha, etc. We studied many of the New Testament miracles performed by Jesus, Peter, Paul, and many of Jesus' Apostles. So, let's now look at the possibility of present day miracles happening in our world today.
You nor I have seen such things, but it's not because we've been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Honestly, in my humble opinion, there is scant evidence that modern, documented miracles of biblical proportions happen in our age. I'm simply being real.
Maybe you've actually witnessed a biblical proportion miracle - I'm NOT ruling it out.
Is the fact of a lack of evidence of miracles proof that God doesn't perform real miracles anymore? No, not at all, but it very well could be evidence that God ceased using agents to perform miracles after biblical times, during this Church Age.
Maybe God performs lesser forms of miracles in our day? Maybe God is active, but, not interested in facilitating certain types of his ancient, biblically recorded miracles. There are many factors to consider in our search for God's answers to our quest. Let's start with the Word.
Present Day Miracles - the Bible
Let's investigate what the Bible says about present day miracles possibly occurring during our lifetimes.
We live in the Church Age, which means that we're in the midst of an era where Christ rules from his throne in heaven. Jesus is currently interceding on our behalf, making certain that those who love him are eternally forgiven by the God the Father (Luke 22:32). He is our High Priest during this age, making sure we don't fall away from God (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Jesus also serves God and us in another capacity during this era. Jesus is "with us," aka Emmanuel, meaning that by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Christ is in true believer's hearts (John 17:23). Through this authoritative position Jesus opens our understanding of the Bible (John 16:13-15); and he empowers us to obey his Word (John 15:5).
God's power is within us, helping us do the things that please God, the things we can't possibly do by our own power (Romans 15:19).
So, we have God within us, and Jesus promised to never leave us (Matthew 28:20). In effect, Jesus Christ's presence is here, by the Holy Spirit, in full power and glory. Through the gift of heavenly logic, then, the power of God should manifest itself in very powerful ways, including miracles, in order to bring glory to God.
Of course, God didn't promise us that supernatural miracles would continue to the end of the Church age... or, did he? Hmmmm...
The prophet Joel shares a word from God about the age in which we now live, "I will pour out my Spirit upon all people... And I will cause wonders in the heavens and on the earth" (Joel 2:28-30).
Miracles only come when God calls for them. They aren't based on human plans or people power. So we wonder, has God chosen to perform great signs, wonders, and miracles during this age?
Before we attempt to discern the existence of present day miracles, let's consider some other factors, including the specific types of miracles.
Types of Present Day Miracles
God performed miracles with animals, plants, land, and sea. We call these nature miracles. This is where God himself, or one of his angels, works through nature to perform miracles. For example, God's own hand wrote the Ten Commandments on two stone tablets. Words appearing out of "thin air" on stone would definitely be considered a miracle by modern scientists. Do things such as this happen today?
There are many types of miracles performed with humans, including healing miracles. God sometimes restores someone who suffers a disease to his or her original healthy state. For instance, someone experiencing cancer that has been diagnosed as fatal will suddenly discover that the cancer disappeared.
Medical science cannot account for the phenomenon; therefore, it's very possible God miraculously intervened by destroying the cancer cells and damage already caused. Quite possibly, though, the natural disease-fighting elements created within the human body raise up and defeat the disease. The latter incident is a blessing, but isn't considered a real miracle.
Biblically, we read where Jesus performed re-creating miracles. For example, Jesus healed Malchus, the slave of the high priest. Peter sliced off Malchus' ear during Jesus' arrest. Jesus said, "Enough! Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword." Jesus then touched Malchus' injury and his ear was perfectly re-created in full.
Do such miracles happen today? Tough question. Documented miracles of this sort are few and far-between, if existing at all.
The Prophets, Jesus, and the Apostles also raised people from the dead (e.g. Lazarus, Dorcas, etc.). And in the modern era in which we live, we occasionally hear of people who clinically died, but were then resuscitated. But are these true cases of miraculous resurrections or examples of God's grace in allowing modern medical equipment to "revive" a person? That's almost impossible to truthfully answer.
The Greatest Miracle
We do know for sure, in our current era, that God works his greatest miracles when saving people. Jesus heals shame and saves souls in the process of divine forgiveness. We should be most thankful for such eternal miracles.
Let that thought sink into your soul a moment. Physical-realm miracles are temporary in nature. Salvation miracles are spiritual in nature. What means more to an individual soul, the physical or the spiritual? The answer should be spiritual, of course, because of its eternal nature. Spiritual blessings should be more desired by us than physical blessings.
For instance, let's theoretically ask Lazarus which resurrection is more important to him, his physical resurrection or his eternal resurrection. Lazarus would wholeheartedly say that his forthcoming spiritual, eternal resurrection from the dead will be much more important than his temporary, physical resurrection in Bethany.
There are all types of biblical miracles and there are undoubtedly many types of miracles today; but, can the miracles of today be compared with the biblical miracles in magnitude? Again, hard to say. These questions are getting tougher and tougher!
Let's keep searching for answers, and now turn to our intentions for wanting miracles.
Seeking Present Day Miracles
Is it wrong for us to desire miracles? Like most of our desires, certain criterion makes it okay, while other criterion makes it wrong.
God performed signs, wonders, and miracles by himself, his Son, his angels, people, and nature; therefore, we know miracles are part of his plan of redemption.
Some of God's most powerful miracles occurred during times of God's wrath.
God punishes two groups of people: 1) Those who "fill-up" their measure of allowable sin (1 Thessalonians 2:16 ESV); and, 2) Those whom he loves (Hebrews 12:6-8). These miracles of wrath are usually terrifying miracles that strike fear into the hearts of those who witness his wrath (e.g. Korah in Numbers 16:30-35). These facts work in harmony with the next point...
Miracles are performed to draw people to him by faith, resulting in personal salvation for the true believers.
Our sovereign Lord knows exactly when, where, and how to perform effective miracles. Who can deny such a thing? God also expects us to believe the miracle accounts recorded in the Scriptures.
Technically, since we have the word of God to believe, we do NOT have a reason to desire a miracle for our own faith. We're called to believe God and his word without the help of miracles, end of story. Therefore, we can't desire a miracle for validation or entertainment purposes.
Many times, Jesus healed physical issues out of compassion for the suffering people (Matthew 9:36). He did it out of mercy. This type of healing seems to be a likely candidate for present day miracles, because Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
However, Christ also had stern words for those people who sought miracles. Matthew 12:39 says, "Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah."
In other words, if a person is seeking miracles for validation or entertainment purposes they won't get it; but, they've been given the Bible to study the story of Jonah. You see, Jonah, being in the belly of a whale for three days, represented Christ who was in the grave for three days. Jesus was basically saying that if you're seeking miracles with bad intentions, then you're out of line. Read and believe the Bible - that's all you really need.
Of course, reading about the miracles from the Bible, while disbelieving them, results in a terrible fate. Jesus said, "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you" (Matthew 11:21-22). Scary stuff from the Lord. We better heed his stern warning.
Not only do miracles draw people to believe, but, miracles test the faith of people. Those who fail to believe in miracles cannot believe in God. Faithless people will be judged, cursed, and punished in everlasting hell (Revelation 21:8). Let's now turn to the important topic of spiritual gifts to help determine if we experience modern day miracles.
Present Day Miracles - Spiritual Gifts
Yet another biblical consideration for determining if today's miracles are real miracles is the teaching on spiritual gifts. Paul says we all must be well-informed on this topic; because, being so informed aids us in our understanding of present day miracles (1 Corinthians 12:1). Let's start with the basics.
The Holy Spirit takes residence inside a person's heart. The moment the Holy Spirit inhabits one's heart, he gives the person at least one spiritual gift of service. A Christian is responsible for using his or her gift to minister to God's family (1 Corinthians 12:7) and to expand God's Kingdom (Ephesians 4:16; 1 Peter 4:10-11).
Spiritual gifts are listed in several places in the Bible. First, Romans 12 gives a decent-sized list of spiritual gifts, but nothing is mentioned of the spiritual gifts of healing or miracles. Ephesians chapter 4 contains a list of spiritual gifts, but neither does it list healings or miracles.
Next, 1 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, "The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to preach."
Many theologians accept this passage at face value, while many others build a biblical argument against it.
No need in explaining the face-value comment, because it results in believing that the spiritual gifts of healing and miracles is present in today's church.
The biblical argument against these spiritual gifts being current consists of these points: First, gifts such as speaking in foreign languages, miracles, and healing were temporary, being used to verify apostolic teachings (Acts 14:3). The argument goes that these types of spiritual gifts basically became obsolete after God's word was written in full.
Additionally, after God's word was penned these miracle gifts in fact ceased (1 Corinthians 13:10). The reason is because God expects people to believe the written accounts of the prophets and apostles, including their accounts of miracles (Romans 10:17; 1 Corinthians 10:11).
Bottom line teaching, then, in regards to God working present day miracles in our midst: We don't need them to grow people's faith. We have God's word, the Holy Bible, to grow people's faith. Miracles for reasons of belief are unneeded.
Finally, God can, and probably does, work healings based upon his compassion for people. God hates the effects of sin that man must endure as much as we do. He didn't intend for us to suffer like we do, but we chose that path of life when we sinned; and we continue choosing that path every time we disobey God's word.
James 5:14-15 shares how we're to go about seeking a healing miracle. James tells us to bring in some elders or pastors, anoint the suffering person with olive oil, while praying in the name of Jesus. This activity heals the hurting person and forgives the sinner. James then says that the earnest prayer of a righteous soul has great power and produces wonderful results.
That belief calls us all to strive for personal holiness, for the good of those we love (John 15:13). That belief calls us to serve God by serving others (John 13:14). Living this Christian way amounts to loving our neighbor as much as we love ourselves (Luke 10:27-28).
There is one more vital area of the Bible to consider before formalizing our decision about the reality of true miracles in our lifetimes.
Does the Bible predict future miracles? Studying the future is yet another consideration in determining if God works present day miracles.
Let's theoretically say we're living in the last days of the Church Age. Let's also say Christ is ready to return. If that's the case, would we expect to see real supernatural miracles?
Peter tells us that we can count on incredible natural miracles as God unleashes his wrath on the world. He'll cleanse and restructure the entire universe with no more than a word (2 Peter 3:7-13). Yikes! So, there will be some awesome miracles of God's wrath, for sure. Maybe they're already happening? Hmmmm...
Also, the book of Revelation tells us there will be both good and evil miracles happening at a dizzying rate. These will be terrifying miracles of immense power, but also glory. Wow! We're in for quite a ride if in fact we are experiencing the last days of this important biblical era. Listed here are a couple examples of future, or quite possibly, present day miracles from God's word.
Examples of future good miracles: There will be two witnesses preserved from harm and resurrected in Jerusalem before ascending back to heaven (Revelation 11:1-12). Angels will evangelize the world with God's good news (Revelation 14:6-7). Now those will be considered awesome signs, wonders, and miracles!
Evil agents will also perform miracles, but of course, only under the direction and authority of God. Evil miracles exist for God's ultimate purposes, but they are meant to further delude those unbelievers who refuse Jesus' sacrifice.
Examples of future miracles of wrath, or miracles of evil agents: The Seven Seals (Revelation 6-8); The Seven Trumpets (Revelation 8-11); The Seven Bowls of the Seven Plagues (Revelation 15-16); the antichrist's arrival on the world scene (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12); the Beast's future miracles and healings, including his own resurrection (Revelation 13:3); the second Beast will arise and also perform mighty miracles (Revelation 13:11-14).
So, future miracles will indeed happen on a tremendous scale. Therefore, we need to prepare ourselves to mentally handle such awesome miracles, because we're probably living in the last days of the Church Age.
Christ is coming soon, my friend. Prepare to meet the God who is responsible for all true miracles.
The final conclusion is reached then, is it not? There were biblical miracles in the past and there will be biblical miracles in the future. So, since God never changes (Malachi 3:6) and Jesus is the same yesterday, TODAY, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), it goes to reason that there are at least some types of true miracles today. Praise God!
We cannot conclude, though, that ALL types of miracles are performed today, such as in the past, or even in the future (which could be today!!).
People pine for miracles. Some for good reasons, while some for selfish reasons or evil intent.
We'll get them soon enough. Great and mighty signs, wonders, and miracles are definitely coming soon.
However, for practical Christian living purposes, seek miracles that are based on God's compassion. These are examples of miracles for which to pray...
- For God to provide food for starving people
- For God to provide relief and restored health for the sick and injured
- For God to provide warm and dry shelter to the homeless
- For God to provide for widows and orphans
- For God to provide answers for my family and friends who seek his will
- For God to provide workers for the harvest; and finally...
- For God to draw sinners to himself for the healing of shame and forgiveness of sin.
Has he changed your heart so that you hear your calling to help others in need? Has he opened your eyes so that you see where God is working and where he needs your help?
My friend, this is another of God's greatest miracles: The fact that he uses us unworthy sinners to help him meet people's needs. Let's seek those heavenly things... for God's Glory! Go in peace.
Join our (click) Personal Miracle Prayer page.
Present Day Miracles Discussion Questions:
1) Why did God seem to be more involved and active in biblical times than he is now? (see 1 Peter 1:12).
2) What should you do, as a modern Christian, when you are told about Christian miracles occurring (see Acts 17:11-12).
3) How can you keep from being deceived by the coming antichrist's miraculous works? (see Matthew 7:15-23).
Present Day Miracles Bible Verses:
I will also meditate on all your work, and consider your doings. Your way, God, is in the sanctuary. What god is great like God? You are the God who does wonders. You have made your strength known among the peoples. Psalm 77:12-14 NHEB.
Give thanks to the LORD! Call on his name! Make his great works known among the peoples. Sing to him, sing praises to him! Tell of all his marvelous works. Glory in his holy name. Let the heart of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Psalm 105:1-3 NHEB.
Present Day Miracles Quotes:
We must first make up our minds about Christ before coming to conclusions about the miracles attributed to him. - F.F. Bruce
We are not to look for manifestations of divine power to make natural faith easier. - R.M. Benson
It is unnecessary for me to go far afield in search of miracles. I am a miracle myself. My physical birth and my soul's existence are miracles. First and foremost, the fact that I was even born is a miracle. - Toyohiko Kagawa
Present Day Miracles Prayer:
Dear Father, Your compassion is great towards us. We deserve nothing but the worst, but Lord, there you are reaching out with your arm of mercy and grace, loving us, healing us, drawing us closer to you. Lord, help us see and learn that the best thing for us is to live for you. Help us to see the miracle you sent us in your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you for our Savior. Dear God, we lift up to you the hungry, hurting, homeless, and fatherless. Provide miracles to them to meet their needs, Lord, you are free to use me to help you perform these great miracles of compassion. Help us to desire and be the miracle to our neighbors, that is, to those who need you. I pray they experience the miracle of forgiveness. In Christ's beautiful name we pray, Amen.