In the New Testament, we find the Lord Jesus’ mandate for believers to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth and God promises to be with the signs (Mark 16: 17-18). The word “sign” in the original text is semeion. Semeion literally means direction. So, miracles are not goals, but signs or directions. If someone preaches the gospel in a place where people have not heard the gospel and do not know the living God, a course in miracles workbook can open the way so that those who do not know the true God and Savior can know Him.
So why are miracles called signs or function as directions? This question must be answered correctly so that Christians fully understand the function of miracles in the life of believers in general and the ministry of God’s work. If someone evangelizes to an area that has never known the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, they do not know there is a God who created the heavens and the earth who sent His only begotten Son, how do we introduce God to them? Certainly not enough with words, but there must be “proof”. Is it true that Jesus was a powerful child of God, who died and rose from the dead? To answer this problem, the Lord included His power that produced miracles to open the eyes of the unbelievers to know the true God.
Thus throughout the ministry of the Lord Jesus was accompanied by miraculous signs and extraordinary miracles. That was meant so that the Jews could hear the truth and know that Jesus was the messenger of God. Regarding this, the Lord Jesus said: “I know that you always listen to me, but because the people who stand here surround me, I say it, that they may believe that you sent me” (John 11:42). We must pay attention to the phrase “because the people are standing here … so that they believe”. It is clear here that miracles are performed for non-believers or new converts to Christianity.
In this case, we strongly agree on the belief that miracles still apply, that is, as long as it is needed to open the eyes of men who do not know the existence of a true God and Jesus Christ is the only Savior. In ministry, God’s servants were found who were used by God in this extraordinary way. However, it must be made aware that Christianity is not just experiencing miracles. After they believe in the Lord Jesus, they must experience the growth of faith to be like Jesus, because that is the purpose of salvation so that we become similar to Jesus as the human model desired by God (Rom. 8: 28-29).
In one event, God rebuked people who seemed close to following the Lord Jesus but did not have the right accompaniment. To them firmly the Lord Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you have seen the signs, but because you have eaten the bread and you are full” (Jn 6:26). The word “sign” in this text is semeion which means the same thing as a miracle. His statement, God wanted to advise them not to just because of the physical blessing of the miracles that God was doing they accompanied Jesus. But they must look at the direction or direction in which they must grow or move.
The Phenomenon of Miracles Today
In certain periods, when the church goes into decline, the Lord in His love reveals His presence by miracles. In God’s church in the world, this phenomenon has occurred since the middle of the 19th century. At that time there were speakers who demonstrated miracles, such as Oral Robert, T.L. Osborn, and so on. A course in miracles that should only be used as signs for people who do not know salvation in Jesus Christ is forced to be revealed to Christians who do not know the Lord Jesus properly and who have begun to leave Him. This is intended so that they return to God. Of course, these miracles are also used by God to bring people who were not Christians to become Christians.
For this, God raised up His servants. So that comes the servants of God who are given the gift to perform services with this miracle, namely healing God or casting out demons and so forth. If we examine carefully, it turns out that some of those whom God used to carry out this ministry, were not originally servants of God born of academics, that is, those who studied theology formally. Usually, they are born from lay people or those who only attend Bible courses or schools for a few months, or a maximum of one year. But it cannot be denied, how amazing they were used by God to perform miracles and gather large numbers of people. Among them, they succeeded in building a satellite, radio and television city which became the vehicle for the gospel to be preached.
Usually, these servants of God, in their preaching, do not have the depth of understanding of theology based on the Bible, but always emphasize gifts and miracles. However, they succeeded in performing various miracles, so that from their ministry they built large churches (megachurch). They become great priests in the community. Unquestionably, they succeeded in leading large numbers of congregations to visit the church and attend services with great enthusiasm. The churches have succeeded in building magnificent religious buildings. Church music is experiencing extraordinary progress. Of course, not a few people who had not been to church at all started going to church. In Korea, we see a high surge of Christians, also in Nigeria, and several other countries.
With miracles that have been successfully demonstrated, the congregation is also very confident that they are true servants of God, God’s representatives in this world. Of course, they became very respectable. Not a few of them are cult. From this, financially God’s servants who are gifted with this miracle become very strong because with miracles happening, not a few people are willing to give anything for the benefit of the church and its ministry. These servants of God have become rich. This is evident from the vehicle being driven, also the vehicle of his children, house, clothing, and so forth. Some of them even have overseas ranches, luxurious apartments, and private planes.
From this came the priests who used miracles to build community; from prayer meetings to the church, from acim, regional to international classes. They think that miracles are God’s effective way to bring people who don’t know God to salvation in Jesus Christ. Usually, the pastors who emerge from this circle do not overemphasize teaching and doctrine, but only emphasize miracles. Wherever they hold spiritual events – such as revival meetings, seminars, etc. – always emphasize miracle-oriented teaching. Amazingly, visitors are never lonely. This shows that the world community, especially in Indonesia, likes miracles.
The Right Attitude towards Miracles
Believers’ attitude towards miracles must be true because this is related to our relationship with God. Wrong attitudes toward miracles will also place us wrong before Him. On the contrary, the right attitude toward miracles will enable us to place ourselves correctly before Him and place God in the proper place. The teaching and practice of miraculous services today, if not addressed properly, can mislead the people, so they do not know salvation properly. When the Bible mentions false messiahs, it is not only aimed at those who claim to be able to save people or religious figures outside of Christianity, but also for pastors who present themselves as messiahs of the Jewish concept. The Jews wanted a messiah who could meet their physical needs, including a miracle that could make their life comfortable on earth and obtain many conveniences for life.
Today many pastors introduce themselves as healers. Indeed they did not directly say that he healed the congregation’s illness. But the strong impression to be conveyed to the congregation is that he has the gift to cure illness. The impression came to the recognition that the pastors had the right to demonstrate miracles. It is even suggested that it is the priest who has power. In this case, the problem lies not only in the miracle itself, or the pastor’s behavior, but the atmosphere of teaching or spiritual education that is presented in the ministry. The atmosphere that is presented is “meeting physical needs”. Indeed, a healthy body or healing is something that is needed by humans (the congregation must strive to maximize it with responsibility). But the church should not forget that salvation in Jesus Christ is not focused on it. Salvation in Jesus Christ is oriented toward the return of humans to God’s original plan.
We believe that the God who became our Father is a God who has unlimited power over this universe. As children of God, we certainly have guaranteed miraculous care of God. But this does not mean that we can use God’s power as we like as if we can use God’s power at any time and in everything according to our own tastes. When a person is not yet spiritually mature, he tries to believe in the power of God and sometimes claims it as if he has the right to use it. Usually, the concept they have in mind about God is that God wants Christians to believe in His power. The more trusting in the power of God, the miracles that are believed to be increasingly possible. This is a false thought in the lives of Christians who are not or are not yet mature.
Many pastors teach something from the Bible but do not pay attention to the context. As for women who are bleeding pain in Matthew 9: 20-21 and Mark 5: 25-30. The word “touch” in the original text is haptomai which actually also means to fasten one’s self to, adhere to, cling to. The woman held tight to God’s robe and believed that she would get well. And the fact is, he did get well. But this case cannot be imposed on everyone and in different situations.
From this case also it must not be understood that if we believe or believe in what we hope can happen, then it will really happen. In this case, as if God can be regulated. There are other impressive cases that God can be governed by human belief or thought, for example, the story of the servant officer in Capernaum (Matt. 8: 5-10). We must look closely at the context of these verses and stories so as not to misunderstand their meaning. For mature Christians, surely he does not force God to show the power of His miracles. He will be more careful in responding to the power of God. Mature Christians try to understand God’s will and do God’s will. We must always remember that those who are known by God are not those who experience miracles or those who do miracles, but who do the will of the Father. In this case, it does not mean that we are anti-miracles. Miracles must be placed in the right place. It must be stressed that the miracles performed by a person do not determine his enjoyment before God.