Session 10: Current Miracles and Miracle Stories
Since we have spent time in these nine lessons discussing the miracles of Jesus, it seemed appropriate to end this series of lessons talking about current miracles and miracle stories in our world today. We need to apply our best thinking/study to this as well as a heartfelt sensitivity to this—it is really hard for any of us to stand in judgment of someone else’s experience after all. In this session. there are several considerations that we would need to make to adequately discuss this.
- Play: Session 10 Video
Since we have spent time in these nine lessons discussing the miracles of Jesus, it seemed appropriate to end this series of lessons talking about current miracles and miracle stories in our world today. We need to apply our best thinking/study to this as well as a heart-felt sensitivity to this—it is really hard for any of us to stand in judgment of someone else’s experience after all.
There are several considerations that we would need to make to adequately discuss this:
Consider the miracles of Acts:
- There are many of them—35 at least (and some of these are summary statements).
- They mirror the ones of Jesus in the Gospels, and yet go beyond some of what we see in the Gospels. In fact, God is consistent but rarely does things exactly the same. He is no creature of habit. He is a Creator. He can do new things.
- They vary in kind—ascension, tongues, lame people, shaking of a house, deaths (Ananias and Sapphira and Herod), resurrections (Tabitha and Eutychus), deliverances from prison, bodily transportation, eyes healed and blinded, visions, famines predicted, HS speaking, and shaking snakes off into fire pits.
- They can come in clusters albeit that the clusters are compressed.
- Usually something dynamic is going on the context to show that a geographical and ethnic expanse of the gospel is taking place.
- They tend to come around conversions—goes with above.
- They tend to be showing more of the war with the enemy.
Consider that miracles were very much part of the NT era: Jn. 14:12; 2 Cor. 12:12; Heb. 2:3b-4.
Consider the caution about miracles being false or counterfeiting or mocking real Christian faith: Matt. 7:22-23; 24:24; 2 Thess. 2:9; 1 Jn. 4:1; Rev. 13:13-14; 16:14; 19:20. Miracles are not self-authenticating and are not the only test that God is in it.
Consider the understanding about miraculous gifts and their on-going nature or completion:
- What about the sign gifts? Word of wisdom, word of knowledge, gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues.
- What about one’s understanding of 1 Cor. 13:10 and the perfect (or perfection)? Openness vs. Cessationism?
- What about the testimony about these in the history of the church?
- On the one hand—John Chrysostom (A.D. 345-407), “But now occur no longer.”
- On the other hand—larger testimony of the church world-wide (Keener’s book and Roman Catholic thinking about sainthood).
Consider the fact that Christianity and medical science have not been competitors but have complemented each other—Luke as a doctor and there were medical schools in Cos and Pergamum. Think of the clinics and hospitals that Christians have built through the years. Christians have generally understood that part of setting the world right as to relieve suffering where it is found. Think of Js. 5:14.
Consider some final principles that might help guide you and critique miraculous claims. These come in the form of questions:
- Does the supposed miracle line up with the kind of miracles we see in the Bible?
- Does the miracle clearly point people to God and his glory?
- Is the miracle worker’s life consistent with the nature of the gospel and the holiness expected on the part of Christians?
- Does the miracle need shared publically?
So, we come to the end of our study. The miracles of Jesus were outstanding supernatural acts of salvation, compassion, and war to get the world back that so rightfully belongs to God.
James S. Stewart said it best, “With Jesus, it’s wonder after wonder, and every wonder true.”
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