Miracle just ahead, printed on a board

Miracles for a Purpose

Christ is Risen!

Our society spends countless dollars on healthcare. We pride ourselves on a system that has the capacity to heal just about any illness that affects us, save a few. It is no wonder then that when a member of our family approaches death, we become frantic that ‘something’ must be done. We are consumed with cheating death up until our last breath. We all eventually take our last breath.

As generations have passed, the practice of medicine has changed with advancing technologies. We no longer use leaches or ‘bloodletting’ to heal. Unfortunately, what has also changed is our inability to prepare for death with dignity and faith. In a moment of desperation, we turn to God in prayer, asking for a miracle. Miracles rarely come.

In those days, the apostles fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country; and there they preached the gospel. Now at Lystra there was a man sitting, who could not use his feet; he was a cripple from birth, who had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking; and Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and walked. And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, because he was the chief speaker, they called Hermes. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the people. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out among the multitude, crying, “Men, why are you doing this? We also are men, of like nature with you, and bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways; yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good and gave you from heaven rains and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” With these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.

Acts 14.6-18

Saints Paul and Barnabas were men of faith, but they were also miracles workers. In today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we find then not just healing, but commanding a crippled man to stand up. The man wasn’t even asking for anything, but they knew he had faith. That time the miracle came, and the people were amazed.

It surely wasn’t the first time a miracle had taken place. We know from Scriptures and from history, that miracles healings were not unknown. In this case however, the crowd believed the saints were gods who had come down to meet them. This was the purpose of the miracle. There is always a purpose for miracles beyond healing.

Since the crowd was willing to believe gods would or could come down to meet the people, it opened the door to faith in Christ as the One True Living God, “who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.”

The miracle wasn’t about healing at all, but about faith in the Living God. We can’t escape death as human beings, but we can escape eternal torment when we have faith in Jesus Christ. What our ancient ancestors knew about life’s end, we could learn to embrace. Our earthly life will come to an end. When that time comes, it is best to greet it with faith in the Living God rather than panic and money. We should be asking God for forgiveness rather than a miracle.

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