By Russ Ramsey
The Bible is full of miracles, isn’t it? Cover to cover—it’s miracles, miracles, miracles. Right?
Not really, no. The fact that there are miracles in the Bible—quite a number of them, really—could leave you with the impression that they happened all the time back then. But they didn’t. They were actually quite rare. Hundreds of years would pass without a single miraculous moment. But when they did happen, they often came in bursts. Why is that?
Today’s texts lead us through a sampling of miracles from the earlier parts of Scripture. After today, this two-week study of the miracles of Jesus will focus specifically on the signs and wonders He performed during His earthly ministry. But we begin this series with the simplest question we could ask: What is a miracle?
A miracle is an historical event or phenomenon which surpasses human or natural power and cannot be explained by natural or scientific laws, and is therefore considered a display of divine power caused by God. It is a supernatural interference with the natural order of things.
Why are miracles in the Bible? Biblical miracles show God’s power and His grace. They show His presence and His judgment. They illuminate His plan to accomplish our salvation. Today’s readings illustrate these points.
Miracles are one of the ways God expresses His “otherness” to us. They reveal Him in His power, and show us He is not like us. The rules of nature that bind us do not bind Him. The laws of a created world are amendable by the One Who created it.
Why do miracles seem to appear in clusters? When you come upon an era in Scripture with a high concentration of miracles—like the Exodus or the conquest of Canaan or the life and ministry of Jesus—pay attention. God is showing His power, His grace, His salvation, His judgment, and His presence in ways that point to the fact that He is doing something special in that moment in time.
In the case of Jesus’ miracles, we come to see that God’s presence and Christ’s presence are one in the same. All the power, grace, salvation, judgment, and compassionate care Jesus shows us through His miracles come from the God who created us and governs the world in which we live.
God and His Son Jesus are not subject to creation. Creation is subject to Them. Because that is the case, what can separate us from the love of God in Christ? Romans 8 tells us nothing can—nothing in all creation.
As we study the miracles of Jesus, remember that these are nothing less than acts of God performed by Immanuel, “God with us.” Although signs and wonders may not accompany every moment of our lives, the One who makes them possible does.
Written by Russ Ramsey