New World Signs

Rev. Leigh Spruill commented in his Sunday School class this week that signs are given to us to provide us with directions and tell us if we are on the correct path, but also to reveal information about ourselves and our surroundings. We are studying the Disciple John and read stories in his Gospel about seven of Jesus’ signs:

  1. Changing water into wine (2:1-11)
  2. Healing the royal official’s son in Capernaum (4:46-54)
  3. Healing the paralytic at Bethesda (5:1-18)
  4. Feeding the five thousand (6:5-14)
  5. Jesus walks on water (6:16-24)
  6. Healing the man born blind (9:1-7)
  7. Raising of Lazarus from the dead (11:1-45) 

Even after Jesus’s time on earth, there are still records of miracles occurring. We read in Acts 19:11-12: “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.”

With all this evidence, the question was asked in class: “Was it easier to believe in miracles in the first century before the Age of Enlightenment?

Ray Waddle in his new book, Undistorted God, says, “I have to take my cues and clues from the Gospel record. What’s found there is surprising. Jesus isn’t on the scene very long before he starts healing people. Yet it was no easier then than it is now to get an accurate read on what was happening. Many rejected what they saw him do, or they said it was the devil’s work. The reader finds Jesus warning people, time after time, to stay quiet about the healings.” 

Ray continues, “..on the Christian horizon there’s only one miracle that counts, with evidence from history that the usual storm of contemporary miracles doesn’t possess. It took place long ago, and the existence of the church cannot be explained without it: the Resurrection.

I believe in the Resurrection that happened thousands of years ago, but I also see signs of God’s kingdom breaking through in our present-day “reality”. I’ve been the recipient of healing miracles, and I have friends who have stories of healing that have no explanation.

God isn’t far off in a distant land, He’s here with us now and welcoming us into His kingdom.