Purpose of Miracles 

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The scriptures give many purposes for miracles, including:

1.  To Lead People to Do God's Will

Many Who Perform Miracles Will NOT Enter the Kingdom of Heaven

"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.' Matthew 7:21-23 (NAS)

The guarantee of salvation was not one of the purposes of miracles.  Many might assume that people who performed miracles would enter the kingdom of heaven.  As we have seen in this lesson, the miracles of tongues, prophecy and knowledge would pass away.  Even before they passed away, the scriptures restricted the use of these miraculous gifts for certain purposes. 

As Jesus says above in Matthew 7, those that do NOT do God's will not enter the kingdom...even if they prophesy, cast out demons, or perform other miracles.  Those that perform miracles and do not do the will of Jesus' Father...they are described as practicing "lawlessness" (see Matthew 7:23 above).

Temporary Miraculous Signs Were Not the End Result

These temporary miraculous signs were not intended to be the end result; but rather the "sign" that pointed the way to the truth...and to the will of God.  The apostle Paul said that if he performed miracles and did not have love, he would be "nothing."

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-2 (NAS)

Unfortunately, people today are drawn to people who claim they can speak in tongues, or claim to receive current-day prophecies from God, or seem to be able to do other miraculous things.  People in Jesus' time also were enamored by the signs and miracles that Jesus did.  Jesus warned people of blindly seeking after miraculous signs:

"An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah." And He left them and went away. Matthew 16:1-4 (NAS)

"For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect... Matthew 24:24 (NAS)

Jesus' disciples also warned of false signs and wonders that would lead people astray:

Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 2 Timothy 2:8-10 (NAS)

Jesus wanted people to focus on that which endures to eternal life:

Jesus answered them and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27 "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal." John 6:26-27 (NAS)

2.  To Confirm or Attest To Jesus and His Unalterable Words

When Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, God did many signs and wonders to show God's power to the Pharaoh of Egypt (see Exodus chapter 6 through chapter 11).  Although the magicians of Egypt were able to do similar signs...the miracles of God greatly overshadowed what the magicians could do.

Early on in Jesus' ministry, He performed miracles and signs.  The scriptures give us the reasons for these:

"For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will." Hebrews 2:2-4 (NAS)

"And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed." Mark 16:20 (NAS)

"Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know� Acts 2:22 (NAS)

Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.  John 20:30-31 (NAS)

And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed. Mark 16:20 (NAS)

These miracles and signs indicated to the people that Jesus truly was the Christ and that they should focus on the words that He spoke.  Although the signs were temporary...Jesus' words were not temporary:

Jesus said in Mark 13:31: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." (NAS)

3.  To Show The Glory, Power and Compassion of God:

While these temporary gifts given to men were to pass away...God's love and compassion would not pass away.  In the times of Jesus, He performed miracles to display the power of God...but also because of His compassion for those that were hurting:

Lazarus is Raised From the Dead

Let's look briefly at the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead.  Jesus explains that the end result would not be death for Lazarus, but for the glory of God:

So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick." 4 But when Jesus heard this, He said, "This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it." John 11:3-4 (NAS)

Lazarus died and then Jesus raised him from the death (see the story in John chapter 11).  This proved to many that Jesus truly was the Son of God...and so the Son of God was glorified as a result of the event.  Jesus' compassion for Lazarus is displayed, not only in His desire to raise him from the dead, but also in Jesus' reaction to the hearing of his death:

Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died." 33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, 34 and said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to Him, "Lord, come and see." 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews were saying, "See how He loved him!"  John 11:32-36 (NAS)

He Had Compassion on Them

When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. Matthew 14:14 (NAS)

And Jesus called His disciples to Him, and said, "I feel compassion for the people, because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way." Matthew 15:32(NAS)

God has great love and compassion for all men.  Although the Bible tells us that this world is not our home and that as Christians we will oftentimes suffer hardship, trials and persecutions in this life...God still has compassion for us.  God will not let us be tempted beyond that which we can bear:

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NAS)

God wants all men to turn to Him and to seek His guidance.  God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness...and He wants us to pray and ask Him for the things that we truly need.  John writes the following to Christians who ask God for things "according to His will:" 

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.  1 John 5:14-15 (NAS)

Congratulations!  You have completed Section 2C of this lesson.

Click below to continue to the last section of this lesson:

Topic

2A.  The two miraculous events.
2B.  How is the Spirit to be poured out on all flesh?
2C.  Purpose of the Holy Spirit being poured out.
2D.  Warnings with respect to the Spirit, and false spirits.


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