Many amazing things can be referred to as miracles, like the birth of a child, the colors of the rainbow, the coming of spring when the brilliant colors of nature return. All these events are even more pleasurable when the wonder of them is fully appreciated.
On the other hand, a miracle can be more strictly defined as something that defies the normal process of nature. In the Scriptures it often appears that miraculous events were common place. There were times when miracles were more common than others. Like when Moses challenged the authority of Pharaoh as God directed him to perform miracles and send plagues upon Egypt. At the same time, God’s people were expected to do many normal and practical things to get through the day.
For forty years in the wilderness their Lord God fed and clothed them through miraculous means, but upon settling in Canaan they had to plant crops and cultivate the land as the other nations. After they left Egypt and conquered the Promised Land, supernatural events continued, but were less common.
Two thousand years later Jesus of Nazareth appeared on the public scene. Before Him came John the Baptizer, whose supernatural powers consisted mainly of His prophetic words. Even though he was able to call thousands unto repentance, John saw himself unworthy to loosen the shoelaces of Jesus. Here was a man whose words could calm the stormy seas, who could bring the dead to life and feed thousands with a basket of fish and bread. Unlike Moses, no one died or even suffered because of His miracles. His work was filled with grace, mercy and healing.
Not only did Jesus perform miracles, but He also empowered others to do the same! Even those who were healed under His ministry were made to understand that their faith was the main reason they were healed!
After 3 years of marvelous signs and wonders, the greatest miracle of all took place. Jesus, The Lamb of God was slain for our sins on a Cross. But on the third day He rose from the dead and appeared to His followers. The season of miracles continued, but this time through those who were baptized by Him in the Holy Spirit and fire! We know from the New Testament writers that the many signs, wonders and miracles of that time were God’s way of confirming the words of His apostles, sent forth from Jesus Himself! By these others could know that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead and into the heavens, to rule over all!
As before, things began to settle down. The Christian faith eventually became the dominant faith of the Western world. The frequency of miracles decreased perhaps because they were no longer needed. A long tradition states that this is because the articles of the faith were established, having been canonized in the Scriptures and in the great church counsels.
Yet various times in history there have been accounts of Christian revivals, that is when the original fervor and enthusiasm of the Early Christians has returned. During these times large numbers of unbelievers have embraced Christ, and believers have received new-found joy and passion for Him. Along with these times have usually come demonstrations of divine power. People during times of revival tend to believe that God really does hear and answer prayer! They find themselves asking God for supernatural healings and other powerful signs that God is real, alive and active among them! Suddenly they resonate with the beliefs and events in the lives of the early Christians, realizing that Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever!
We may never fully understand why revivals come when they do. Most certainly a genuine spiritual renewal comes from God. These times are usually preceded by a deep hunger for the power and presence of God in the hearts and lives of some individuals. Often they long for the exploits they have read about in the Bible, but are not so theologically biased against such things happening in their day.
Greedy and worldly men try to fake healings and revivals, but we are talking about the real power of God. Jesus once asked, “When the Son of man comes, will He find faith in the earth?” Could He be looking for those with big hearts full of big hunger for Him, and the desire to see Him glorified in the earth through both holiness of life AND demonstrations of His love and power? Will we be the generation that will open our hearts to what great things He will do in our world?