MemberMarch 11, 2021 at 12:39 pm
I would like to add a few more thoughts to support my opening sentence.
I think that miracles still happen today, but often not in the way we expect them to.
As we saw from my earlier Scriptural discussion, the apostle helped early Christians to understand that the miraculous gifts that were used to consolidate Christianity would be eliminated.
It should have been evident to everyone at the time that certain extraordinary miraculous events were being performed by God not for a single person but for Christianity as a whole.
Understanding this should also help us understand that we cannot cultivate unrealistic expectations for our individual person.
Here are some examples to explain what I am saying.
Acts 7:59-60 (NIV) “ While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.”
Acts 12:1-3 (NIV) “It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread.”
Acts 12:7-8 (NIV) “Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him.”
In these scriptures there are 3 Christian faithful of the first century: Stephen, James and Peter.
Stephen was put to death by stoning and James, the elder brother of John, was put to death with the sword. In their case, God did nothing to save them from that kind of death.
Peter had been put in prison and he too was surely close to the same death that had been inflicted on James. But in his case, God did something “supernatural” to get him out of prison and then to keep living.
Should we think that God did not intervene in the case of Stephen and James because they were not faithful enough as Peter was? Not at all.
God intervened in the case of Peter because, evidently, Peter would have had a very important role in the establishment of early Christianity.
So we deduce that the really important thing for which God intervened in a “supernatural” way in the first century was not the salvation of the individual but the establishment of true Christianity.
Firmly establishing true Christianity was so important because the Christian congregation would provide the “kings and priests” needed to then bring the blessing to all inhabitants of the earth, none excluded.
Once Christianity was consolidated the “supernatural” miraculous gifts would cease.
What would continue forever among true Christians is something different from what many might expect: “Love never fails”.
It was true Christian love that allowed another kind of miracle. The early Christians showed love for their contemporaries and for others who would live in the following centuries by writing down what we can read today in the Christian Greek scriptures.
Other true Christians who lived in later centuries showed love for us by protecting delicate Christian manuscripts from the fierce destructive persecution of the Roman emperors.
Other true Christians who lived in later centuries showed love for us by faithfully copying those writings over and over again.
Other true Christians who lived in later centuries showed love for us by translating those writings into our languages even at the risk of their own lives, such as William Tyndale.
So, a miracle that is perhaps different from what many expect, is the fact that we can now read and study the holy scriptures, which Tim brought out very well in his film “Moses Controversy”.
If we want to benefit from a “miracle” from God today, it is to consider the Bible a very precious gift and to show our appreciation by reading and studying it every day.
If, on the other hand, we expect something “supernatural” from God as help, such as asking God to be healed if you have an illness or to be resurrected if you have a fatal accident, it could lead to great disappointment.
There are thousands of people who go to certain places they consider “holy” hoping to get miraculous healings, but the vast majority of them return home disappointed.
And in those rare cases in which it is said that some of them have been healed “miraculously” one wonders if this healing is truly from God.
Luke 6:17-19 (NIV) “ He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.”
Acts 5:15-16 (NIV) “As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around <st1:place w:st=”on”><st1:city w:st=”on”>Jerusalem</st1:city></st1:place>, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.
When the true power of God was truly in place it healed everyone, all of them, and not just one in a few thousand.
I hope that what I have written has further clarified what I meant.
In my next post, I would like to mention additional examples of “miracles” that we can reasonably and scripturally expect in our day.