Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
The Purpose of These Miracles Miracles served the purpose of revealing the truth. "But the Helper [one who stands by the side of], the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you" (John 14:26). Jesus was getting ready to return to the Father, but He realized that the apostles would need some help in remembering and teaching the gospel to the ends of the earth. So, He promised them a miraculous measure of the power and influence of the Holy Spirit. He assured them that they would be taught all things by the Holy Spirit; and he would enable them to recall all that he taught them while he was with them. Without miraculous help, they would have been unable to do this. Jesus gave them the fullest assurance that they would be divinely assisted in what they should speak. "... do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say" (Luke 12:11, 12). In further discussing with them the help they would receive from the Holy Spirit after he had gone back to heaven, Jesus said, "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth..." (John 16:13). From these verses, we are shown that the Holy Spirit would: (1) Teach the apostles all things. (2) Bring to their remembrance all that Jesus had spoken to them. (3) Guide them into all truth. Paul later spoke to the Corinthian church upon this same topic, in these words: "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory" (I Corinthians 2:7). In verse 10, he continues with this thought, "But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit." This is what Jesus promised to do. The gospel was revealed unto the apostles by the Holy Spirit and they preached all that Jesus commanded. They did it without error. To the Ephesian Christians, he said that the unsearchable riches of Christ "... as it has now been revealed by the Spirit... that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body..." (Ephesians 3:5,6). The apostles, in turn, preached the word which they had received from the Lord. "For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it, not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God..." (I Thessalonians 2:13). Note one other passage which states that the Holy Spirit revealed the truth unto the apostles, "To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven (I Peter 1:12). Miracles served to confirm and verify the truth. When Jesus sent the apostles out on the Great Commission, it is said, "And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs" (Mark 16:20). It should be well understood that the New Testament was not written at this time, and so miracles attended them to establish and corroborate the gospel message they preached. The miracles served to support with evidence the divine authority by which they proclaimed Christ. The Hebrew writer said that the great salvation, "... which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness [corroborated their testimony] both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit..." (Hebrews 2:3, 4). These were supernatural proofs by which the truth was established--shown to be genuine and authentic. The inspired truth was written down, committed to record, by those providentially prepared men whom the Lord selected. Now you and I have access to the truth that was revealed and confirmed (John 20:30,31; II Timothy 3:16,17). Once the truth had been revealed and established by miraculous power, there is no further need for the exercise or use of that power. Jesus said all of the truth would be revealed to the apostles by the Holy Spirit.. Further revelation of truth is impossible. The truth which the apostles preached was completely verified, and no man can further prove it. It can be preached, but it was proved almost two thousand years ago. Were Miracles to Continue? Listen to Paul as he discusses this subject with the Corinthians: "Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect [complete) has come, then that which is in part will be done away" (I Corinthians 13:8-10). God's will was revealed by the Holy Spirit only a part at a time, "bit by bit." A full and complete revelation was not made known to the apostles at once. Miraculous powers such as prophecies, foreign languages, supernatural knowledge, were some of the means by which the gospel was revealed and confirmed. But when the gospel system was completely revealed, miracles had served their purpose and came to an end. But it is objected that the "perfect" to which Paul refers does not mean the will of God, but the coming of Jesus Christ, who is the "Perfect One." But this is not the case. When Paul said, "When the perfect is come," he used the neuter gender. Jesus Christ is not neuter gender. He is masculine. In speaking of the will of God in Hebrews 10:9-10, the inspired writer employs the neuter gender. "He taketh away the first that he may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified..." The word for perfect means "brought to completion; fully accomplished, fully developed; complete, entire, as opposed to what is partial and limited" (I Corinthians 13:10, Analytical Greek Lexicon). So, when God's revelation to man was completed, "fully developed, entire," there was no further need for miracles. They had served their purpose and come to an end--were "done away." We now have the perfect law of liberty (James 1:25). "... 'When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.'" These miraculous gifts, bestowed for the purpose of revealing and confirming the will of God, were distributed to apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. The reason for their bestowal was "the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith" (Ephesians 4:8-13). "The faith" is the entire gospel system. Jude speaks of it as "the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). These miraculous gifts were to last until "the faith" was completed, until it became one unit. Once it was made whole, finished, fully developed, the miracles which had been responsible for its revelation and confirmation passed away. That revelation was completed in A.D. 96, when the apostle John finished his last letter. Since that day, there has been no need for miracles. We have the word of God, all of the truth into which the apostles were guided by the Holy Spirit and it is to govern us in all of our beliefs and practices.
The purpose of Jesus' miracles was so that He could be recognized as the Christ (John 20:30-31). The purpose of Apostles' miracles was to prove their apostleship (II Cor. 2:12). Then those on whom the apostles laid hands could also perform miracles. This was to help the non-believer to believe (I Cor. 14:22). No one today can perform miracles because there are no apostles to lay hands on man. Eph. 4 and I Cor. 13, teach us that there is no longer need for miracles because the Word of God and the church are complete. I know that many will argue with this but just let anybody show us how to raise the dead! Then we will know that miracles are still performed.
In my humble opinion and simply stated, miracles are a cosmic love letter from God written during our short stage time (life) on this sphere, considering many tribulations come our way and most of these can be overcome (2 Timothy 2:3; 2 Timothy 2:12). But there are some tribulations that will drop the strongest among us to our knees, for humankind was not designed to endure such things for long periods of time. It's these gut-wrenching tribulations that transpire in the darkest valley at noon day, where you know--or worse--still know that someone you love will not exit the valley as they entered it (Psalms 23:4). When there are no human technological advances or wonders to be purchased at any price, you come face to face with the grim realities of the matter before you! God in His loving mercy may indeed send you a miracle, maybe not the exact way we desired or asked, but remember: His ways are higher than our little human ways. (1 Timothy 2:10) Some say that miracles and other gifts stopped long ago, but scripture tells us that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Never-changing precious promises given, still remain in effect today witness the Sun, Moon and Stars. (2 Timothy 3:16) I submit it's like describing the colors in a famous painting to someone born without sight--you can do your best to explain it, but really, one has to see it for themselves to do it justice and understand the loving beauty before him/her. But friend, the price of admission to this show is so expensive that most could not bear the total cost (no cheap seats here). I would pray that your life's tribulations are light. (Hosea 4:6) Bottom line: we get the sometimes easy part, "believe" (many have enough problems with that), but consider that really the Lord has the hardest part: "performing it". In the Lord's freedom and loving mercies.............warrior on
Good question, Gary! I remember being taught over and over this mainly in Dr. Dwight Pentecost's classes, at Dallas Theological Seminary, I think the 4th largest seminary in the U.S, or the 4th largest metroplex in America: "The purpose of miracles was to authenticate the message about Jesus. This was the major function of the miracles as far as the ministry of the apostles was concerned. Mark says that the Lord 'confirmed his word [that the apostles preached] by the signs that accompanied it'? (Mark 16:20)."--Surprised by the Power of the Spirit, by Jack Deere, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1993), pp. 103-104. Sermon Illustrations, (on Bible.org)
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.