Thinking Biblically About Miracles

These were more noble minded than those of Thessalonica in that they received the word with all readiness and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so (Acts 17:11).
Eddie L. Hyatt

Blood and oil appearing on hands and heads, gold dust and nuggets falling from the sky, Holy Ghost feathers floating in the air, the wounds of Christ appearing on individuals all sound like something from the superstitious Middle Ages. Instead, these phenomena are being reported as occurring in contemporary Pentecostal-Charismatic gatherings. The first question is not whether these are from God or not, but whether they should be pursued and promoted since they are not Scriptural. Neither Jesus nor the early disciples promised nor reported these sorts of esoteric phenomena. These signs shall follow them that believe, Jesus said in Mk. 16:17-18, but mentioned none of the above.

Martin Luther & Sensational Phenomena

Martin Luther saw many miraculous answers to prayer, including the miraculous healing of two of his closest friends. Nonetheless, he spoke harshly against the pursuit of non-Biblical miracles that was common in his day. In his book, To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, Luther blasted church leaders for fudging the truth and promoting superstitious phenomena such as certain hosts (i.e., Communion wafers) bleeding and the miraculous creation of a statue of the Virgin Mary. Great crowds flocked to the places where these miracles supposedly occurred and much money was collected in offerings, in fees for masses and from the sale of amulets and indulgences. Luther, who was a diligent student and teacher of Scripture, thundered,

Oh, what a terrible and heavy reckoning those bishops will have to give who permit this devilish deceit and profit by it. They should be the first to prevent it and yet they regard it all as a godly and holy thing. If they had read the Scripture as well as the damnable canon law, they would know how to deal with this matter! The miracles that happen in these places prove nothing, for the evil spirit can also work miracles, as Christ has told us in Matt. 24:24.

Biblical Miracles Are Not For Entertainment

God never performs miracles to entertain. Luke, in his gospel, tells how Herod was exceedingly glad to finally see Jesus when Pilate sent Him to him during His trial. Why was Herod so elated to see Jesus? Luke 23:8 says, He hoped to see some miracle done by Him. Herod wanted to be entertained by a miracle. His interest in Jesus and miracles was centered in himself and his own egotistical desire. This sort of self-serving interest in miracles should be avoided since it opens one to deception. We must seek Jesus for who He is, even if we never see another miracle. We must remember, too, that Biblical miracles always serve a practical purpose. They are given, first of all, to point and lead people to Jesus. In addition, Biblical miracles normally meet a practical need such as miraculous healing from sickness, miraculous provision, deliverance from danger and death or supernatural guidance through a difficult time.

Miracles Must Not Become An End In Themselves

2 Kings 18:4 tells how Hezekiah, when he became king of Judah, rid the land of idolatry. He not only broke the pagan pillars and cut down their wooden images, he also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it. Something that God had used as a means to bring His healing power to the people (see Num. 21:4-9) had been turned into an object of worship, i.e., an idol. Hezekiah found it necessary to destroy it along with all the other idols. How many God-things in America have been turned into idols because of our narcissistic way of thinking? We must be careful that we not make an idol of miracles!

What Are We to Do?

In these days of both great revival and great deception, we must, like the Bereans in Acts 17:11, search the Scriptures daily to see if these things are so. We must love the Truth with a capital “T,” which is personified in the person of Jesus Christ, and the truth with a small “t,” which is found in Scripture. Seek the Lord, search the Scriptures, flow with the Holy Spirit and let God look after the miracles.