Saturday, February 19, 2011

Miracles - Part 1

"And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
[John 20:30-31]

It is first important to understand what purpose miracles served; why miracles were performed.  John said that Jesus did many other "signs" in the presence of his disciples that were not written down, but the ones that were written were done so to prove that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah).  What does a "sign" do?  It points to something.  And the signs (miracles) that Jesus did pointed to His divinity as the Christ.  Anybody could have claimed to be the Christ (and indeed, some had), but the miracles Jesus performed PROVED that He was the Christ.  The proved the power that He had over nature, time, distance, and death; a power that could only come from God.

This is the purpose behind most of he miracles that are recorded in scripture, but in the Old and New Testaments (some were truly done out of compassion).  Not to prove that the one performing the miracle was the Messiah, but to prove that the power and authority that he displayed was from God.  Think about Elijah on Mt Carmel with the prophets of Baal when he challenged the prophets to a test to determine who the real God was.  What it truly boiled down to was a test to see who could do something miraculous.  The prophets of Baal did all they could to get their god to burn up their offering, but no amount of calling out or gesticulating or cutting themselves did any good.  Yet when Elijah simply called on God, immediately his sacrifice was licked up by fire along with the wood, stones, dust, and even the water he had poured around the alter.  The result was that this proved that Jehovah was the true God and the prophets of Baal were false prophets.

So the purpose of miracles was to prove that the one doing the miracle spoke with the authority of God, not himself, and should therefore be heeded.  So would this proof always be necessary?  Would those who were doing the will of God always need the power to perform miracles in order to show with whose authority they spoke?  That will be addressed in the next part of this series.

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