Have you ever witnessed a miracle? Did it strengthen your faith in God?
In Acts 3, the crowd who had previously seen the man unable to walk from birth now walking and jumping and praising God, they noticed! Can you imagine the shock, the wonder, the conversations that spread through the temple and surrounding area?
Had this miracle, performed by Jesus Christ through Peter, happened today, someone would have grabbed their cellphone, captured the incident on video and the whole thing would have gone viral. But capturing a video, preserving a visual record of a miracle, even being filled with wonder and amazement does not necessarily engender faith.
“When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognised him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.” (Acts 3:9,10)
Initial wonder. Initial amazement. But wonder + amazement does not = faith. Compare the miracles performed by Jesus and the responses engendered in those who witnessed them.
e.g. John 2 Water turned to Wine – “This, the first of His miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed His glory, and His disciples put their faith in Him.” John 2:11
John 4 Healing of the Official’s Son – “So he and all his household believed.” John 4:54
Faith comes–but how does it come? According to Romans 10:17, it comes from hearing the message. Miracles may capture interest, but gospel witnessing and preaching communicates what needs to be believed. Do I despise genuine miracles? Not at all. I’ve seen the touch of God in my own life and the lives of others. But let’s explore our response and the response of others some time later. The message of truth, the message of the gospel, the word of God must be communicated.
Remember the story Jesus told in Luke 16? The rich man, in a place of torment, pled with Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house to warn the rest of the family. How did Abraham reply? Would such a miracle persuade these unbelievers?
“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Propehts; let them belive them.’ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.‘”