Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Miracles: Do they happen today?

       According to a recent article* in the BBC magazine, there are Christians who maintain that, ‘Yes’, miracles really DO happen, a belief which many members of medical and scientific communities would dispute - especially as some religious ministers even claim to have raised people from the dead!

       Such claims inevitably lead to heated arguments with no middle ground and even less tolerance, as people on both sides of the issue remain firmly entrenched in their own particular stance. 

       So who’s right? With anything vaguely religious, particularly from the Judeo-Christian perspective, it’s a good idea to look at the scriptures and do a little digging.

       That miracles were performed in Jesus’ day is for any Christian beyond dispute. Supernatural feats -such as the feeding of the 5,000, calming storms and healing every kind of disability and sickness - demonstrated what God's Kingdom will accomplish when, under Jesus' oversight,it is ruling fully over the earth. Such miracles also offered tangible proof that Jesus was truly the Messiah and had his heavenly Father’s backing.

       Another factor to bear in mind is that not everyone whom Jesus healed demonstrated faith. Think of the disabled man waiting to enter the pool of Bethzatha; the young blind man who didn’t realise he was speaking to Jesus; or the widow of Nain whose son Jesus resurrected. (John 5:1-9; John 9:25; Luke 7:11-17)

       Sadly, even after being healed, some failed to show appreciation for what Jesus had done. Ten lepers were cured on their way to show themselves to the priests, yet only one returned to thank his saviour....a man of another nation! (Luke 17:12-19)
Miracles continued to take place in the first century until the last apostle died.

Jesus himself warned of false prophets who could perform many powerful works, yet he would view them as ‘workers of lawlessness’

      Writing to the Corinthian congregation, Paul clearly stated that such ‘gifts’ as healing and praying in tongues would cease, having played their part in convincing people who held firmly to the Mosaic Law that the new Christian arrangement was the ‘Way’ and had God’s blessing – once this was established there’d be no further need to keep on proving it over and over again. (1 Corinthians 13:8-10)

       What about today? If these miraculous gifts are no longer in evidence, why do some Christians insist that spiritual healing – or miracles such as Pope Francis liquidising the blood of a saint in Naples – still take place?  It’s sobering to consider that these may come from sources other than God and Jesus.  Jesus himself warned of false prophets who could perform many powerful works (‘miracles’ JB, NE, TEV) yet he would view them as ‘workers of lawlessness’. (Matthew 7:15-23) Think also of Pharaoh’s magic practising priests in Egypt and their ability to copy the first two miracles performed through Moses. (Exodus 7:22; 8:7)
 
       There are supernatural forces in the world which may on the surface appear beneficial. However, before submitting to them in the hope of a cure - or a message from God - it would be wise to do some research.


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