A NEW sermon series for August – “The outstretched hand of Jesus”, considering how he touched the lives of different people. Preaching from Alan Cole, Service Led by Brian Dickson.
When Jesus was on earth people flocked to Jesus both to hear His teaching and to see the miracles that He performed. Both of these were the means of pointing people to God. A miracle was an extraordinary event which arouses people’s awe and wonder and gives glory to God.
Three words describe miracles – signs, wonders and miracles.
1) A sign is something that points people to God. In the case of the paralysed man lowered through the roof he found salvation and then was healed (Mark 2); in the case of the man born blind he was healed first and then found salvation.(John 9).
2) A wonder is something that causes people to sit up and take notice and caused people to listen to His ministry. Nicodemus in John 3:2 was drawn to Jesus because of the wonders He performed.
3) A miracle was a mighty work showing the power of God, as in the stilling of the storm (Luke 8) or the feeding of the 5,000 (Luke 9).
Why did Jesus perform miracles?
1) To confirm the gospel message – e.g. John 3:2, Acts 2:22, Acts 9:42.
2) Because Jesus loved people – e.g. Luke 7:13; John 11:35.
3) As a sign of His divinity – e.g. Luke 8.
4) When people approached Him in faith – e.g. the man with leprosy. Luke 5: 12-16.
Why do we sometimes not get a miracle when we pray for one?
1) Lack of faith. This is a common error. A dead body cannot have faith, and the man healed at the Beautiful Gate of the temple wanted money not a miracle. Acts 3. Miracles do not depend on faith but on God’s power.
2) The answer may be to wait because God has something else in mind – as in the raising of Lazarus in John 11.
3) The person’s work for God on earth maybe completed. Peter was saved (Acts 5), Stephen wasn’t (Acts 7).
4) God may give grace and strength to bear the suffering – as with the thorn in Paul’s flesh (2 Corinthians 12).
It is right that we should pray to God for miracles, but realise that their purpose is primarily to give glory to God and point people to Christ.
Reading: Luke 5:12-16
Led by: Brian Dickson
Preacher: Alan Cole