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Should Christians Expect Miracles Today? Objections and Answers from the Bible, Part 1, by Wayne A. Grudem

Similarly, Jesus gave His disciples “power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal” (Luke 9:1-2). He commanded them, “Preach as you go, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons” (Matthew 10:7-8; compare Matthew 4:23; 9:35; Acts 8:6, 7, 12).

A third purpose of miracles is to help those who are in need. The two blind men near Jericho cried out, “Have mercy on us,” and Jesus “in pity” healed them (Matthew 20:30-34). When Jesus saw a great crowd of people, “he had compassion on them, and healed their sick” (Matthew 14:14; see also Luke 7:13). Here miracles give evidence of Christ’s compassion toward those in need.

A fourth purpose of miracles, related to the second, is to remove hindrances to people’s ministries. As soon as Jesus had healed Peter’s mother-in-law, “she rose and served him” (Matthew 8:15). When God had mercy on Epaphroditus and restored his health (whether through miraculous means or not, Paul attributes it to God’s mercy in Philippians 2:25-30).

The text does not explicitly say that Tabitha (or Dorcas) resumed her “good works and acts of charity” (Acts 9:36) after the Lord through Peter raised her from the dead (Acts 9:40-41). But by mentioning her good works and those who bore witness to her selfless care for the needs of others (Acts 9:39), it suggests that she would resume a similar ministry of mercy when she was raised from the dead. Related to this category would be the fact that Paul expects people to be edified when miraculous gifts are used in the Church (1 Corinthians 12:7; 14:4, 12, 26).

A fifth purpose for miracles (and one to which all the others contribute) is to bring glory to God. After Jesus healed a paralytic, the crowds “were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men” (Matthew 9:8). Similarly, Jesus said that the man who had been blind from birth was blind “that the works of God might be made manifest in him” (John 9:3).

These multiple purposes for miracles show that we should not claim they were limited only to the time when new Scripture was being written.

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Category: Pneuma Review, Spirit, Winter 2000

About the Author: Wayne A. Grudem is Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary, Phoenix, Arizona. He has authored over twenty books, including Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (1994), Politics According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture (2010), The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution (2013), The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, and "Free Grace" Theology: 5 Ways It Diminishes the Gospel (2016). He was also the General Editor for the ESV Study Bible (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Book of the Year, 2009).

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