What Do Miracles Prove?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, February 17, 2018 1 comments

by Nathan Buck

I recently saw a post from a colleague about an unexpected miracle his congregation experienced. They were having a dinner for the community, and they planned for 100-150 people. But, they had double that amount show up! Their kitchen staff had planned for the original numbers, there was no extra food, and no one had time to go to the store. A bit panicked, the leadership, the prayer team that was praying for people coming to the event, and the kitchen staff all stopped and prayed. They asked God specifically for a "loaves and fishes" miracle like in Luke 9:10-17. Then they all prepared and started the event trusting God. Halfway through the meal, the lead kitchen person came into the gathering and announced that there was enough for anyone who wanted seconds. People ate their fill. At the end of the night, my colleague walked back to thank the kitchen staff, and there sitting on the counter was the leftovers. They had placed them in Styrofoam carry-out containers. With nothing wasted, and nothing stretched, there were EXACTLY 12 carry-out containers left. A miracle, exactly in line with what they prayed, and beyond the power of any human there.

Miracles are real. Miracles don't just "happen." Contrary to popular mystic psychobabblers on TV, the universe is not some powerful anonymous force conspiring to occasionally help us win at the casino or be more confident about our personal power to influence the world. THAT is delusion. Miracles are specific, and they are usually directly related to causing someone to lay down their sin and shame and trust God, or to amplify people's faith in God. If you read through the Bible you will see that all miracles, even creation itself, was intended for human beings to encounter the existence, power, and love of God.

So, I am not going to spend this blog post defending whether miracles "happen" or why they occur. They do, and they are intended to provoke faith in God. What I am going to do is look at what happens when we try to divorce the miraculous and supernatural from God.

Can empty spiritism and personal power do anything? Look no further than a recent speech at the Grammy's. The mask of spirituality, hides the obvious truth that "personal power" is really a reflection of pride. See the contrast. Using power words in speeches or evoking emotional responses in your followers, while directly benefiting and overlooking the very "casting couch" abuse that now conveniently serves political ambitions by supporting #metoo, is no different than thousands of other charismatic cultic leaders in history. Sadly, legitimate power to hold sex offenders accountable and give support to the abused is hindered by the blurred vision from this kind of virtue signaling. Saying we should "speak our personal power" reminds me of Acts 19:11-20.

In that passage of the Bible, God has been opening people's eyes to the truth of Jesus' resurrection. God has been doing incredible miracles of healing and restoration and people are giving their lives to God. But there is a group of religious Jews who don't believe in Jesus but see power being demonstrated by Paul, and they try to imitate it. They go and they try to face off against an evil spirit possessing a person. They say, "...in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches..." (verse 13).

You know that moment when you say something, and then you realize what you just said makes no sense? I like to hope these guys had that moment here. But even if they didn't, what happened next surely confirmed to them that what God was doing through Paul, because of Jesus, was not some magic incantation they could wield. I laugh every time I read the demon's reply to them, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?" Especially because they get a thorough thrashing and are sent away naked and bloody. It's hilarious, because God's power is not some magic spell, and miracles are not a manifestation of human power or effort. Beyond that, it's hilarious because they get their butts handed to them for being fakes.

Think about all the empty spiritual messages constantly being offered up in our culture. It doesn't matter who says it, how popular they are, or how much influence they have in the world, if they present ANY offer or secret to power that is not directly from and in relation to God through Jesus Christ. It is at best a fantasy, at worst demonic, and most likely a trope to comfort their conscience and bolster their position.

Miracles are real, and they only occur for one reason: to demonstrate who God is and who and what he cares about. The Bible is clear: only one has the power to truly do miracles, and our experience of the miraculous is directly related to Him. I encourage you to read Acts 19 and 2 Timothy 3. Reflect on the differences between Paul and the imitators. Let God lead you to any place where you may be imitating godliness but denying its power. 

May you discover a deeper relationship with God and walk in His power in such a way that you see the kinds of miracles Jesus has done and continues to do.

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Charlie said...

I can testify to more "feeding of the five thousand" types of miracles than I can count. I understand precisely what happened in that kitchen because I've seen it multiple times.

Great word on the purpose, point, and legitimacy of miracles. Just because there are many fakers out there, it does not nullify the real ones.