A critical study of the New Testament will teach us the core mandate of Jesus on earth – SALVATION.
It is indeed true that in his life and ministry of saving humanity, Jesus performed certain miracles – only 39 of them are recorded from all 4 Gospels put together. The whole Gospel of John records only 7 of such extraordinary occurrences and doesn’t even use the word “miracles” but “signs”. Signs are not ends in themselves but they point to a reality, which is faith in Jesus. The purpose of these miracles are clearly stated in John 20:30-31
We would notice that on many occasions, Jesus would even discourage people from broadcasting such occurrences (eg. the healing story in Mark 1:40-45). The opposite is what we see in most churches today. Miracles in themselves are useless if they don’t point to Jesus and advance his kingdom through faith in him.
If indeed miracles were the major task of Jesus, he would have been judged to have performed very poorly, recording only 39 miracles in 3 years of active ministry. Besides there were still many sick people in Israel that Jesus didn’t heal, for no fault of theirs. If healing or miracles were the primary focus of Jesus, all the sick should have been cured but that didn’t happen. Also miracle stories would have taken at least 90% of the gospels. Besides, there were many people who performed miracles and healings before Jesus began his ministry. So how would he be different from the rest?
Like the time of Jesus and the early Christians, many people have sought the power to perform miraculous signs (some even attempted to buy such powers from the apostles) through fair or foul means since it appeals to many. Miracles appeal to many people and they will do anything to get one. The devil knows this too and has enticed many shepherds of souls to seek powers from the devil to perform miraculous deeds. This is due to the popular but weird perception that it is those who perform miracles who are “anointed” or “true men of God.”
It is therefore wise when the Church cautions us not to chase after miracles. Miracles such as those which happened at the time of Jesus do happen even today and we are grateful to God for them but they must not become our condition to believing in God. This is because we have much greater reasons to believe in God than miracles! What miracle is bigger than the fact that we are alive and that we are children of a loving God who seeks our salvation.
In our age today, we do not need the sort of miracles that happened during the time of Jesus to believe in God. Today, we are reducing Christianity to how many miracles we can see, how much we can shout or sing loudly into the microphone or roll on the ground and perform all sorts of gymnastics to move the emotions of people to the extent that we neglect and refuse to notice the many miracles that surround us. We classify a cripple who begins to walk a miracle but refuse to see our ability to breath, walk around, work, sleep and wake up as miracles. Yet these miracles occur every single day of our lives. It is sad to see some churches competing over who can shout the loudest or advertise miracles the most.
Christianity must not be reduced to miracles, even though God continues to endow men and women with the gift of healing as well as other ministries of service. When they do occur, we should accept them gratefully and believe not in the miracles or the means by which they came to us but focus more on the giver of the miracles, and yo whom they point – God. They should make us believe more in God, lead to true repentance and righteous living. In fact, these are what make us Christians; the rest are only “attachments.”
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