How are the miracles of Jesus to be construed today? Should they be replicated? Or are Jesus miracles/signs to be viewed as foretaste of eternity?

One of my favorite uncles became a born again Christian in the late 70s. He gave his life to Christ through the Scripture Union, which was a movement within the traditional churches to evangelize the heathen and to commit to Bible study, and prayer fellowship. Did I also mention that it was the “King James only” era? Not only was this uncle completely sold out for God, but he was also very bright with a stellar academic record at school.

This man was so dedicated to God that one would literally feel God’s presence while spending time with him. It was his final year in Secondary School (High school), and everyone knew that he will graduate with “highest honors.” It was a given because this man was the cream of the crop academically; and also a born again!

This was during the era of the ostentatious claim of the miraculous. If it is declared, it is bound to happen. If Jesus said it and it happened, then it must happen when declared with authority by Jesus‘ followers. After all Jesus said the believers would do greater things than He did because He was going to the Father (paraphrase). So this uncle declared that if he received any grade lower than “highest honors” at graduation, he would denounce the faith that he has cherished and to which he has committed his whole life.

If faith could be measured by any standard, this man could be said to rank among the highest echelon of the faithful. Then came the graduation, and the results were in. Unfortunately, he graduated two grades below his expectation. He did pass, and many people would be happy with the grade he received, but he asked for the “highest honors.” Because he did not receive it, he abandoned his faith. The news of his rejection of the faith went spiral. People could not believe it. He then began to indulge in lifestyle of sex, booze and partying. It was like he was trying to catch up for the years of abstinence. Thank God that after almost two decades, he turned back to God, but I m not so much sure how he views “name it and claim it” after that experience.

During my first year in ministry, I said that if I declare someone healed or prayed for someone and it did not happen, I will quit the ministry. In the innocence of my faith then, I thought that as ministers we must replicate the miracles of Jesus. My colleagues and I prayed for what we called “slaying” anointing (not knowing that when people are slain they are really dead) but the word “slain in the Spirit” promoted by Benny Hin and the likes then was the real stuff. Well, I never received the slaying anointing (thank God for that, you could imagine the death toll since 1996), nor did I receive everything that I prayed for. This is not to deny being used by God in the miraculous in numerous occasion to meet the needs of others. Thank God I did not give up my faith, because of my unrealistic expectation.

I have been troubled by preachers, and authors that espouse this claim that Jesus’ signs/(miracles?) is a proof of his Divinity or the proof to the unbelievers that we have the gift of healing, or a proof for the unbelievers to come to repentance when we perform miracles. The interesting thing is that miracle is not a monopoly of Christians or God. Heathens perform miracles alike. The idea that Jesus’ miracles ought to be replicated today has led many to people develop formulaic prayers that will command such miracles from God.

People can now attend few weeks of “school” to learn how to “move in the miraculous.” Some Christians are never satisfied until a “shiny shoe” evangelist lays hand on them and push them backward to the ground in pretense of falling under “the power.” (whatever that means). This quest for the miraculous has also led to the reintroduction of the “sale of indulgence,” which Luther, the Reformer gave his life to protest against. Indulgence has reappeared in the form of Tele preachers offering “holy water,” healing handkerchief,” and “holy anointed oil” at exorbitant cost. Yet, these preachers criticize the traditional churches, and characterize them as lukewarm or dead; but yet they are offering “indulgences” for sale to the poor, and also forcing them to “sow a seed” before God will prosper them (I think we are due for another 95 Thesis).

Jesus does not need to prove Himself to anyone. He does not need to prove His divinity. He is the epitome of self-awareness. People around Him recognized and attested to His divinity. We read of pious Jewish religious leaders that came to Him, and were also His disciples secretly. His actions of mercy and compassion to the disenfranchised, and His love for sinners and the outcasts unmistakably attest that He was was not an ordinary man.

In Luke 7:18, we read of an account of the man born blind, whom Jesus healed. His disciples asked Him whose fault it was that this man was born blind to which He replied no one. In stead Jesus said that it was so that God would be glorified. If you are not familiar with Jesus’ narratives, you would think immediately that God is this egoistic, narcist, who would stop at nothing to satiate His ego. For those who really understand how narrative works, they are thrilled because they understand what the miracle in question means. Jesus is utilizing natural occurrence to explain greater realities.

His miracles ought not to be construed as conquering natural obstacles, or a proof of His divinity, they are to be viewed as a pledge of eternity. His miracles are to be understood as surety that God’s promised sovereign reign has begun and will fully arrive in His timing. God has remembered His people, and Has through Christ come to rescue them, and usher them into His eternal reign of shalom! When we view Jesus’ miracles as proof of anything to anyone, and claim that because Jesus performed miracles, His followers must do the same or they are devoid of faith, we are mistaken.

Our faith in Jesus must result in the expression of gratitude, which ought to be evident in what we do in secret, how we treat others, our utterances, what we do with our finances, how we treat our spouses, our children, how we carter to the poor, and how we speak up against injustice.

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5 responses to “How are the miracles of Jesus to be construed today? Should they be replicated? Or are Jesus miracles/signs to be viewed as foretaste of eternity?

  1. Evangelist Julia Matts

    I believe that there should be a “happy medium” in this subject. While I am not in favor, nor do I agree with the evangelist who pushes me down to the floor in an attempt to prove how powerful and Holy he is,( I am typically the one who fights her way away from this minister), I do know that I have been “slain” in the spirit (so to speak); actually fallen under the power of the Holy Spirit with NO ONE’S hands touching me. It is an awesome encounter with a mighty God!! God moves in different ways within the ministries that He has assigned to His ministers, and while laying on of hands may not be your “thing”, it may be a way for others to minister to people. I do believe the Word that says that signs and wonders will follow those who believe, but also realize that this has been taken too far at times and has cause people to take thier eyes of off the Savior and onto those who claim to be walking and talking the miracles of Christ. There is a population who will recieve miracles in one manner or another, what I mean by this is the traditional churches (as you called them) may have a quieter setting than , say, the Pentecostal setting, but the work of the Spirit of God is the same….perhaps just spoken in a different language??

  2. Rev.,
    I see you are passionate about this topic and that is a lovely thing. However, it seems like we are talking about two different things. I believe in the miraculous and do believe in the encounter with the Holy Spirit whether in a corporate setting or in my private space. What I have difficulty with is the innuendo that Jesus’ miracles ought to be replicated today. And they can’t be replicated today because Jesus’ signs carry a unique significance and meaning. We don’t go calling someone out of the grave because Jesus called Lazarus out the grave. We don’t raise dead people because Jesus did it. God is still in the business of healing people today and performing miracles today, we just can’t replicate those. Laying of hands is biblical. After all as a Priest, that is how the Spirit of God was called down upon me by the Fathers and the Bishop to empower me to perform my priestly duties at my ordination. It was not an attack on Pentecostals. I was one myself. I hope you are comforted by this.
    In Christ,
    Fr. Jacobs

  3. Evangelist Julia Matts

    NOt sure I a fully understand your take on this…are you saying that people cannot (or should not) pray for the dead (untimely dead) to be raised? Should we not expect the blind to see (as Jesus did) or the lame to walk?
    I did not take this as an attack on Pentecostals, I used that as an analogy to illustrate the full spectrum of how He may work in different ways (very different ways!) Yes, you recieved your ordination, as the first ministers did, by the act of prayer and laying on of hands, however there are churches who also use laying on of hands to pray for the sick or impoverished (of natural and spiritual matters). I DO understand what you are saying about each miracle that Jesus did was for a specific reason for a specific time, but from there I get lost on YOUR understanding of works of the Spirit through miracles TODAY. Like I said, it is not clear to me what your stance is concerning this matter.

  4. I am not saying that people should or shouldn’t pray for the dead to be raised. It’s up the individual. The fact of the matter is insinuating that because Jesus raised the dead, every believer should so the same, and if they don’t, it is because of lack of faith. Death is a form of healing too. The question is what happens after death or what NT Wright, coined as “life after life after death.” Laying of the hands for the sick to be healed is biblical. The work of the Spirit today is in full operation to help the believer in their sanctification process and in exercising of the His gifts. I did say that God is still in the business of healing today, as He is still in the business of granting His grace to both the unregenerate and the regenerate today. What I have said and what the this post is about is how to construe the miracles of Jesus. I did not say that miracles don’t happen today. In fact I did say that miracle is not a monopoly of God or Christians. If miracle are taught, then anyone can perform miracles. The point is the notion that you have to be trained in a particular way to command these miracles is misleading and begs the question of it’s validity.

  5. Beauty Marks

    That was great! I wholeheartedly agree that we Christians really need to get a grip regarding the fact that God is not the genie of the bottle waiting for our beckon and command. However, we should approach the throne of grace boldly rather than timidly with our petitions. I also think ministers should stop selling the propaganda that you can actually buy blessings!!! Why haven’t they gone blind? LOL! Because God is merciful, but they are on borrowed time to get it right!

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