Miracles in the 21st Century

Miracles.logoI have been preaching and teaching on Matthew’s account of the life of Jesus.  It is clear that the New Testament holds that Jesus did many miracles.

Matthew 9:35ff has a summary of Jesus life – miracles were an integral part. It is hard to separate the teacher from the miracle worker in the Gospel accounts:

35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

In fact, without the miracle of Jesus being raised from the dead, there would be no Christian message.

I Corithians 15:9ff

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…”

For 250 years people have quoted a Scottish philosopher David Hume who said that is not reasonable to believe that something contrary to the very regular rules of nature could ever happen.  This was even the substance of a lecture by a philosopher at the University of Wisconsin.  He said it is just as logical to believe in space aliens.

Why should we believe that Jesus was raised?

We have written accounts of eyewitnesses who claimed to have seen Jesus alive after his crucifixion – and this was in fact the central message of the first believers:

Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.  (Acts 2:22-24)

We have the additional evidence that the resurrection of Jesus was predicted before it happened, by hundreds of years.  We have the evidence and testimony of the church through the ages of the power of the Gospel. We have the attraction of Jesus himself across time and geography.

One final piece of evidence is “fit”.  How well does your theory of life fit all of the evidence:

  • Is the world impersonal, self-creating and limited to the laws of matter and energy so that when we die out there will be nothing at all?
  • Or, is the world the work of a personal Creator who brought life into existence and brought Jesus to life and can bring new life to all?

 

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