Do miracles still happen today? The answer to this question must begin with acknowledging that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. If, as Matthew tells us, the earthly ministry of Jesus consisted of preaching, teaching, and healing (Matt. 4:23) and yet relegate Jesus’ healing ministry to the New Testament alone, then how can we say that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever? Jesus is the same today because he continues to preach, teach, and heal us. The real challenge is being able to recognize the miracles of Jesus today.
I find the word “miracle” difficult to define. What exactly counts as a miracle? A better way to recognize a miracle is to make a distinction between the natural and the supernatural. The natural ways Jesus uses to heal us can be found in places like a hospital and a medicine cabinet. But when Jesus heals someone supernaturally, it means that he does something doctors, nurses, medicine, and science are unable to do and are unable to explain. Keep in mind that God still gets the credit whether healing is through medicine or miracle—that’s why we should never stop praying!
In Scripture, miracles are often associated with the words “signs and wonders.” A sign is a physical manifestation that points to something greater than itself. In other words, the healing ministry of Jesus recounted in Scripture confirms that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the Savior of the world (Acts 2:22). In other words, a miracle never exists only for itself; it always serves a greater purpose. You know it’s a miracle when a supernatural work of God increases your faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior.
The word “wonder” can also help us recognize a miracle. Miracles cause us to be amazed, in awe of the power of God. When we witness a supernatural work of God, we are left speechless as we marvel at the glory of God. You know it’s a miracle when a supernatural work of God increases our worship of Jesus Christ as our Savior.
Consider the following four positions regarding miracles today:
Cessationists believe the kinds of miracles we see in the New Testament do not continue to happen today because they were a special manifestation of God’s power that ceased to exist after the generation of the apostles passed away.
Continuationists believe all the kinds of miracles we see in the New Testament continue to happen in the world today with the same frequency and intensity.
Semi-cessationists believe only some New Testament-type miracles continue to happen today, and not to the same degree as in the New Testament. God is free to work supernaturally today, but the frequency and intensity has diminished in the modern era.
Semi-continuationists believe all kinds of miracles seen in the New Testament continue to happen today. Like the semi-cessationists, they believe the frequency and intensity of God’s supernatural work has diminished in the modern era, but semi-continuationists are much more open to describing events as miraculous, supernatural works of God.
As I reflect on the “Big Three” aspects of Jesus’ ministry (preaching, teaching, and healing) and the events taking place around the world, now more than ever we need a great outpouring of Christ’s healing ministry. We desperately need Jesus to heal our world by both natural and supernatural means. As he does so, may he increase our faith and our worship of him.