Many miracles took place during the times of both Moses and Elijah/Elisha in the Old Testament. The Gospels also record at least 35 miracles by Jesus, while the New Testament records many others that took place at the hands of His disciples. Yet often we do not experience similar miracles today. Does God still perform miracles? Why do the miracles of our times seem unlike the miracles of Bible times?
The answer lies in the purpose of God's miracles. Miracles were performed to authenticate the work of the one performing them. For example, in Acts 2:22 Peter preached, "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know". The same was true of the apostles, as 2 Corinthians 12:12 notes, "The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works." Hebrews 2:4 confirms, "while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will."
These miracles, along with the resurrection of Jesus, the greatest miracle of all, have been recorded for our benefit. God does not need to perform miracles in the same way today. As Jesus taught on one occasion, "If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead" (Luke 16:31).
In addition, the miracles recorded in the Bible were recorded because they were extraordinary. While those miracles in Scripture are extremely important, they certainly would not have occurred every day. Much of the lives of those in the Bible would have been ordinary, though God was continually at work in the lives of His people and within the early church, just as He is today.
That said, this does not mean God is done performing miracles. By definition, a miracle is something that occurs that is beyond natural explanation. In some parts of the world, accounts are given of people who have had dreams about Jesus and wake up and pray to become a Christian, despite living in an area with no missionary activity and never hearing the teachings of the Bible. In other situations, God has worked through changes of weather or the perfect timing of circumstances in the lives of a person to bring forth an outcome that is part of His perfect will.
God does still perform miracles. However, He does not need to duplicate the actions He has already performed that are available for us to read in the Bible. Instead, we are called to study His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and apply its wisdom and teachings in our lives today.
Perhaps the best advice regarding the miracles of the Bible was given near the end of John's Gospel. After years of following Jesus, he wrote, "Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:30-31). The goal of miracles is ultimately for us to believe in Jesus and to live for Him each day.
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