A miracle is an act of God that typically cannot be explained through human understanding. All throughout the Bible, in both old testament and new, God performed miracles for those who would receive them. Such examples are when God parted the Red Sea for Moses and the Israelites to escape from the Egyptians, or when Jesus restored Lazarus back to life. Through miracles, God reveals His power to us.
Old Testament Miracles
In the Old Testament, God revealed Himself to the Israelites through miracles. Typically, these miracles were meant to allow the Israelites progress past an obstacle, survive, or conquer enemies. Such miracles include the parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 14), the fall of Jericho (Joshua 5:13-6:27), and the Israelites being fed manna (Exodus 16). These miracles made enemies afraid of the Israelites because the Israelites had a powerful God, and the Israelites were assured that God was with them for as long as they remained honorable to Him.
Miracles by Jesus
While Jesus was on the earth, He performed miracles for the people. These miracles included healing, prosperity, and caring for common needs. They showed that Jesus was God, and He loved the people so much that He was willing to help them given they had the faith in Him. Jesus performed miracles in front of crowds, for crowds, or privately with whomever he was performing the miracle for. Some famous miracles were the feeding of the 5000 with five loaves and two fish (Matthew 14:13-21), healing the blind men (Matthew 9:27-31), walking on water (Mark 6:45-52), and much more.
Jesus's most amazing miracle took place after His crucifixion. Three days after dying, as He said He would, He rose from the dead and lived on earth for a short while. Jesus today is still alive and capable of doing works in our lives because of this event, and it proves His ultimate power over death.
3 Then [the women] went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’”
|~ Luke 24:3-7||NKJV|
Miracles still happen today. God performs miracles everyday in the form of healing, financial help, overcoming great obstacles, and the like. God wants to show His power in and through your life and the lives of others, and miracles is one medium by which to do this. It also shows how much He cares for us that He would still perform miracles.
Through prayer and faith, Jesus can perform miracles in us. Jesus is the "same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8), and therefore, since He performed miracles in the past, He can still perform miracles today and in the future. Some people, by the power of the Holy Spirit, have the gift of performing miracles. This gift is invested in them so that the power of God can be shown in many ways. 1 Corinthians 12:7-10 show us the gifts of the Holy Spirit with one of them being working miracles.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: … 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
How Miracles Happen
For a miracle to happen, three ingredients are needed: prayer, obedience and faith. In the simplest form, you must pray to God for a miracle to happen, you must follow His instructions so that the miracle may happen, and you must fully believe that God is able to work the miracle. When Jesus performed miracles He would commonly relate it to having faith (Mark 5:25-34). There were cases where God or His prophet would command something to be done in order for the miracle to take place (1 Kings 17:8-16).
In the case of Naaman, 2 Kings 5, he had to have faith and obedience in order to be cured of his leprosy. He first took faith that there was a prophet in Israel of God that was capable of healing his leprosy. The prophet Elisha then commanded Naaman this:
10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.”
After consideration, Naaman did wash in the Jordan river seven times. After having obeyed, he was cured of his leprosy.
Additionally, it is important that we be in concordance with God's character (John 14:12-14). In other words, if you ask God to do something for you out of selfishness, or God has something else planned, nothing will happen. God is not going to do everything you ask Him to do if it doesn't line up with His will.
After having received a miracle from God, it is appropriate then to recognize God's power and thank Him for His good works.
The Purpose of Miracles
God uses miracles as a way to show His love and power to us. God cares for each one of us, and our lives do matter to Him. He performs supernatural works in us so that our lives can be made better, we or others can become closer to Him, and His will can be accomplished.