Bible Miracles

By A. A. Meeks, Sr.

What Are Miracles? In the first chapter of the Bible, we are told, “God created the heavens and the earth” and all the other things that exist (Gen. 1). At the same time that God created, He established laws to control His creation. Such laws as:

      “Every living thing shall bring forth ‘according to its kind’ ” (1:11, 12, 21, 24, 25).

      “The sun shall ‘rule the day’ (1:16).

      “The moon shall ‘rule the night’ ” (1:16).

These and many other “laws” were given by God so that His creation would work in perfect order. We call these “The Laws of Nature.”

The laws of nature still work today just as they did when God ordained them. Every living thing still brings forth according to its own kind, the sun and moon still rule the day and night, and the other natural laws function as they did in the beginning. There has been no change in them.

At various times and for various reasons, God chose to set aside some of His natural laws and make something happen that did not conform to the natural laws. When that happened, we correctly say, “That was a miracle.” A miracle, then, is an event that is contrary to and outside the realm of natural laws. The fact that an event is unusual and does not happen very often does not mean that it is a miracle. Tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes, and eclipses of the sun and moon are unusual and happen seldom, but they are not miracles.

In both the Old and New Testaments, we have accounts of many miracles that did occur. A shepherd’s rod became a snake, then changed back into a rod (Ex. 4:2-4). The water of the Red Sea parted and allowed a multitude of people to cross on dry land (Ex. 14:21). An ax head floated in water (2 Kgs. 6:5-6). A man was healed of leprosy by washing in the Jordan River (2 Kgs. 5). The meal in a container and the oil in a bottle were constantly used without being used up (1 Kgs. 17:9-16). Those were miracles because God caused them to happen contrary to natural law.

While Jesus was on earth, He did many miraculous works. He stilled a storm on the Sea of Galilee (Matt. 8:23-27). He fed five thousand men with five loaves of bread and two fish (Jn. 6:1-13). He gave sight to a man who was born blind (Jn. 9). He healed many people of their diseases (Matt. 8:16). On three different occasions, He restored life to those who had died (Matt. 9:18-26; Lk. 7:11-15; Jn. 11). These events were not natural events. God, who established nature, could and did at times set nature aside and cause unnatural things to happen. These were miracles.

Why did God, on some occasions, choose to set aside His natural law and allow miraculous events to occur? Why did Jesus do the miracles that He did? Why were the apostles able to do miracles? Let’s see what the Bible says about the purpose of miracles.

The Purpose of Miracles. There is no doubt that the miracles we read about in the New Testament had some physical blessings connected with them. The blind man received his sight, Mary and Martha received their brother Lazarus alive, many people received their health, and the disciples were relieved from the storm. But were these blessings the primary reason for the miracles? Let us see.

In John 20:30-31, we are told, “And truly Jesus did many other signs [miracles] in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, said to Jesus, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” (Jn. 3:2).

When news came that Lazarus was sick, Jesus waited two more days before He went to him (Jn. 11:6). After Lazarus died, Jesus told His disciples, “...I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe…” (Jn. 11:15). Jesus then went to the tomb of Lazarus, who had been dead four days, and raised him to life. We are told, “Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him” (Jn. 11:45).

In Acts 2:22, the apostle Peter told those listening to him, “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know…”.

John’s statement about the signs of Jesus, and these other verses, clearly show that the primary purpose of the miracles that Jesus did was to cause people to believe that Jesus is really who He claimed to be: THE SON OF GOD. The miracles fulfilled their purpose. They did cause people to believe.

The apostles of Jesus were also able to work miracles (Acts 3:1-11; 9:36-42; 14:8-10). These miracles were done to convince people that the apostles were approved by God, and that their message was truly God’s word.

In Mark 16:15-18, Jesus told His disciples to go preach the gospel to every creature (v. 15). He said there would be signs that would follow them. These signs included casting out demons, speaking with other tongues, healing the sick, etc., and then in verse 20 we are told, “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.” Note also Heb. 2:3-4, which asks, “ shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?”

Some people claim to be able to work miracles today. But can they really? If you believe this is possible today, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

      1.   Have I ever seen a miracle that I knew was a miracle?

      2.   Have I ever seen a man speak to a storm and quiet it?

      3.   Have I ever seen the ability of sight miraculously given to a man whom I know had been blind thirty-eight years?

      4.   Have I ever seen a man healed of his lameness whom I know to have been lame forty years?

      5.   Have I ever seen a man who had been dead four days raised from the dead?

When Jesus and the apostles worked miracles, they did their work in the sight of multitudes of people. Those people knew that those deeds were truly miracles. We have no such evidence for events which some people claim to be miracles today.

The accounts of the miracles of Jesus were written to cause people to believe. The words of the apostles in the New Testament were delivered and confirmed by miracles. The purpose of the miracles — to identify Jesus Christ as the Son of God, reveal His will, and confirm it — has been accomplished, and miracles are no longer necessary.

In 1 Cor. 13:8-10, the apostle Paul refers to the fact that miracles would cease when “that which is perfect has come.” James wrote, “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (Js. 1:25).

“That which is perfect,” the “perfect law of liberty,” has come. It is the complete will of Christ, the New Testament (see Jn. 16:12-13; 2 Pet. 1:3). It has been “once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Today, people can “look into it” to learn God’s will and the way to eternal life with Him.