While Jesus was on earth he made some very startling claims. He claimed to be divine, and the Jews so understood him (Jn. 5:18 cf; 10:33). He claimed to be the Son of God (Jn. 10:35-37). He claimed to be the Messiah (Jn. 4:25-26) and the Savior of the world (Jn. 14:6). However, anyone could make these claims. Yet, Jesus did more than simply claim to be the things noted, he proved that claim by the miracles he performed. Let’s consider these.
- Power over nature. He stilled a storm (Matt. 8:26-27).
- Power over material things. He fed 5,000 men with a few loaves and fishes (Lk 9:10-17).
- Power over all manner of diseases (Matt. 8:16).
- Power over the spirit world (Matt. 8:16).
- Power over life and death (Jn. 11:14-44).
These are not merely powers, but ones performed in a confirmation of his claims (Jn. 20:30-31).
The apostles were able to perform miracles as well, not to prove that they were divine, for they never claimed such but denied it (Acts 14:11-15). Their miracle-working power was given to them to confirm the word which they were preaching. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation; which having at the first been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard; God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will” (Heb. 2:34). The Bible shows that after the apostles received the commission to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk. 16:15), they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following” (Mk. 16:20).
From these facts and many more, it may be safely concluded that there is no need for miracles today. The Bible has sufficient proof in writing that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (Jn. 20:30-31), and the word of God having been adequately confirmed is sufficient. Anything we need to know about life and godliness is furnished completely when we take all the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16-17 f; 2 Pet. 1:3). Although this is true, it does not keep many people from claiming to perform miracles today. There is a vast difference between what is done in our day and the miracles performed by Jesus and the apostles. Let us consider some of these differences.
1. The miracles of the New Testament were not limited to healing. As already noted, there was power to still the tempest. Where have you heard reliable evidence of turning water into wine? Who today is feeding 5,000 men with a few loaves and fishes? Who is raising the dead?
2. Miracles in the New Testament were not conditioned on the faith of those being healed. How much faith did dead Dorcas have (Acts 9:3640)? The lame man who was healed by Peter in Acts 3 was not even expecting to be healed, much less believing that he would be. Yet today, those who are not healed are told that they do not have enough faith. The sick are not only left with their sickness, but are made to feel guilty because they are the ones to blame for lacking in faith!
3. As in Acts 3:7 the lame man was healed “immediately. ” If you have attended many “healing” campaigns, no doubt you have witnessed people, being “worked into a lather” with much emotion, exertion, and sweating over the ones to be healed. Not so in that done by the apostles.
4. The miracles of the New Testament were so powerful that even the enemies of the apostles admitted “that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest unto all that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it” (Acts 4:16). In our day, numerous ones could deny the “miracles” that were supposed to have been wrought, and they have denied them and that publicly. At various times some of our brethren have offered high financial rewards for proof of any genuine healing of organic illnesses. To my knowledge, they have never had to pay off.
5. After the apostles were baptized in the Holy Spirit, there were no failures. Acts 5:16 is typical, “they were healed every one.” Can any so called faith healer prove a 100% success ratio? If it comes to proof can any claim any success rate?
6. No collections. One of the most obvious differences between today’s “healing campaign” and those in the Bible has to do with money. One does not read in the New Testament where the apostles or others took up a collection as a part of their “healing campaign.” (In fact, one does not read in the New Testament of “healing campaigns” with all the self-produced publicity and high-pressure propaganda that is so characteristic of today’s “miracle worker”). Most healing campaigns today take-up collections several times! On the other hand, the Bible tells us that Peter said, “Silver and gold have I none” (Acts 3:6), but he did not follow it up with a collection. Quite a contrast.
7. In the New Testament the apostles performed miracles which confirmed that their teaching was God’s revelation. I have never heard a modern miracle worker claim that his teaching is a new revelation that is to be considered as a part of the word of God. If they are doing what the apostles were doing or if they believe that they are doing what the apostles were doing, their teaching should be considered as much a part of the Bible as that which John or Paul wrote. In this case we would need a “loose-leaf Bible” to which we would continue to add their revelation. After all, Paul is emphatic when he says, “the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37).
From these considerations and many more, it can be readily seen that when today’s miracles are compared with what we read in the Bible, there is no comparison.