Do Miracles Work?

Do miracles happen? That is another question. I am asking do miracles work? Do they achieve the desired end or do we need something else?

There are many people in the hospital today in desperate need of a miracle. A man labors to breathe. A baby fights for life. A daughter desperately needs her mother to wake up. Hospitals full of people are places full of prayer. But it is not just hospitals. Anywhere there are people there exists desperate need for miracle.

God seems absentee. We know what God could do. We experience what actually happens. All too often there is a great chasm between what we want God to do and what He does. We endure enough of this and hope leaves. Faith erodes from “what if” to “yeah right.”

At times God withholds miracles. Perhaps it is because miracles don’t work.

In John 11 Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. In John 12 the chief priests want death to return. They plot to kill Lazarus.

In Exodus 5 God gave Moses an arsenal of miracles to convince the leaders of Israel they were about to be rid of Egypt. By the end of Exodus 5 the leaders desperately wanted to get rid of Moses.

In 1 Kings 18 Elijah became the anti-Baal. The prophets of Baal displayed the impotence of their god. Elijah called down fire from His God. In 1 Kings 19 Elijah hides in a cave afraid of a woman’s scorn.

John the Baptist sits in prison. John the Baptist sits in doubt. Doubt is a prison without bars. John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ (Luke 7:15) ”

I like miracles. When I need one I am all for them. Yet, in the end they just don’t work. Miracles do not guarantee faith. Miracles are not permanent. Miracles do not come as often as we need them. Miracles are great, but they fall short of the ideal. We need something more.

We need a world that does not need hospitals. We need a world free of oppression. In a world where there is no death there is no need of resurrection. In a world where things are right there is no need for miracles. In a world where things are right, hope never leaves.

Miracles are hints at possibility. They demonstrate to us that indeed the world can be different than it is. The resurrection of Jesus Christ assured all of us that one day the world will be different than it is. Miracles are not an end in themselves. People whose faith narrows their relationship with God to a miracle by miracle basis miss the fuller plan of salvation. We need miracles because we live in a world under a curse. We need miracles because our bodies will suffer the penalty of death. Jesus rose from the dead so that these two problems could be permanently rectified.

Do not miss the meaning of the resurrection. The meaning of the resurrection is not simply that we have a God who can do miracles. God can do miracles, but we need something else. The meaning of the resurrection is that we have a God who has a plan to save the world and people from sin. The resurrection of Jesus assured that there will be a “hospital-less”, “war-less”, “disease-less”, loss-less” world. Jesus is the first and the guarantee of a new creation. The fact that we need miracles in this world says only that we are in desperate need of salvation. In that way miracles work. Yet, if God provides a miracle that helps a heart to beat, but that same heart does not change, what’s the point? Miracles save lives, not souls. In this regard, miracles do not work. Miracles save bodies. Jesus saves souls.

With the resurrection of Jesus hope enters and never leaves.

I will speak more on this topic Easter Sunday, April 12; 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. at Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Trussville, AL.

Audio of this sermon will be posted at a later date.


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