NextLevel Online: Miracles

Session 2: Jesus' Love/Hate Relationship with Miracles and the Clusters of Miracles in the Bible

In this second lesson, we want to develop how Jesus felt about miracles and discover where we find the miracles in the Bible at large. The big word that occurs to me when we raise these subjects is irony.



Classroom

Classroom Instructions

Lesson
Materials: Lesson Outline
Leader
  • In this second lesson, we want to develop how Jesus felt about miracles and discover where we find the miracles in the Bible at large. The big word that occurs to me when we raise these subjects is irony.

  • One would think that Jesus is all about miracles since they demonstrate his power and underline his identity. But the truth is rather ironic. Jesus had a love/hate relationship with these acts of power. And, while it might seem at first that we would find miracles on every page of the Bible that is not actually the case. See what I mean? Ironic.

Jesus’ Love/Hate Relationship with Miracles:

  • Love Side:

    • Christianity by its nature is supernatural. The whole incarnation idea underlines that God is not unwilling to work miracles to accomplish his purpose in this stained planet.
    • And, miracles can be partially responsible for engendering belief (Jn. 20:30-31). Faith is often (though not always) attached to miracles.
    • Almost one third of Christ’s ministry consisted of miracles. In fact, about 31% of the Gospel of Mark is miracles.
  • Hate Side (maybe hate is too strong)—maybe we should say it this way: The Bible does not have an unhealthy interest in miracles. It actually is possible to have an unhealthy interest in miracles. Often miracles go hand in hand with faith, but sometimes miracles actually derail faith and get in the way of faith.

    • They can distort faith (Jn. 6:26-27).
    • They can exasperate Jesus (Matt. 16:4; Mk. 9:19; Jn. 12:37).
    • Sometimes Jesus just flat refused to do them (Matt. 4:1ff; Mk. 6:5-6).
  • Some of this irony is partly resolved by recognizing the connection between suffering in a fallen world and healing. God chooses to suffer in order to redeem. Sometimes healing can only come through suffering. Don’t rush healing. God wants to heal it at just the right time. So, while Jesus begins healing the world in his first coming, he gets frustrated with us if we just want a quick fix that bypasses his person. Bob Lowery says, “Miracles are a means for directing history until God’s reign is fully established” (138).

The Clusters of Miracles in the Bible:

  • This surprises people. Miracles in the Bible may not be exactly rare, but neither are they on every page. In fact, I’m convinced that many people who lived during the years that the Bible was produced (1,500 years) may have never seen a miracle. Whole generations of people were born, lived, and died without witnessing an honest-to-goodness miracle.

  • I’ll mention where these miracle clusters are in a minute, but first let me say three things:

    • The mere presence of a miracle is not proof of divine intervention. Miracles can reveal the presence of God, but the enemy can also counterfeit them. And, there is such a thing as false signs and wonders.
    • Miracles are never isolated facts. They are linked with other events (137).
    • Miracles tend to come in decisive moments in history when big things are at stake (138)
  • That being the case let me list the main clusters of where miracles occur in the Bible:

    • Creation—Spirit, water, and word.
    • Exodus—Plagues (battle with Egyptian’s gods), deliverance in the wilderness. How did their “eyes see this” (cf. Gal. 3:1)?
    • Conquest of Holy Land—Jericho; Sun standing still, Gideon, Samson, etc.
    • Elijah and Elisha Ministries—kings, Israel, and nations (i.e, Assyrian invasion).
    • Intertestamental period (Lowery, 138).
    • Ministry of Jesus in the Gospels—almost every page here.
    • Earliest Church in Acts—many of them mirror Jesus’.
    • Some evidence in Epistles and Revelation (Heb. 2:1-4; Rev. 13:1-10).
  • The Bible is full of miracles but not overly full. And since the Bible is not flat, they come to us in clusters.

  • In the next lesson, we will look at some of the antecedents to Jesus’ miracles in the OT and notice their continuity while noticing the contrasts with his miracles against the Greco-Roman backdrop of his day

About NextLevel Online

The vision of Ozark Christian College is to glorify God by evangelizing the lost and edifying Christians worldwide. The mission of Ozark Christian College is to train men and women for Christian service as a degree-granting institution of biblical higher education.