The Problem with Doing Miracles

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daily text logoSeptember 28, 2014

Acts 19:11-12 (in context)

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.

CONSIDER THIS

This is starting to sound like a Benny Hinn crusade.

What are we to make of this practice? Does clothing have the capacity to be supercharged with healing power? In this case, apparently so. It brings to mind the woman who reached to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe and received healing.  We read earlier where people were healed when Peter’s shadow fell upon them.

This is the problem of doing miracles. Leaving handkerchiefs and clothing behind, the temptation here is to focus the attention on the one who has this power; in this case Paul. The text refused to do this. The most critical line in the text today:

God did extraordinary miracles through Paul. . . .

People typically get the attribution wrong when it comes to the supernatural and the miraculous. We so want to associate it with a person or charismatic leader. The key is for the person or leader to maintain a very clear understanding of who is doing what. Leaders slowly slip into danger as they add supernatural gifts like “healing” or “words of knowledge” to their resume. Ever heard a pastor describe his or her “Gift Mix,” as though the gifts of the Holy Spirit were somehow theirs?

People who work in supernatural ministry know exactly what I’m talking about. Someone gets healed through your ministering work with them and all of a sudden everybody wants you to minister healing to them. People begin associating the supernatural work of healing with the healer. It’s unavoidable, and it’s o.k. It’s not necessary to constantly tell people, “This is not me but God.” What is critical is that you know that you know that you know this. As long as you and I know and keep knowing who is doing the miraculous things it will all get sorted out eventually.

problem-miraclesPaul knew it well and he made it a regular part of his teaching. This is part of what I mean by being discipled into the fullness of the Holy Spirit.  One of my favorite lessons comes in the third and fourth chapter of his second letter to the Corinthian Church. Here’s a sound byte

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

The problem of doing miracles is a problem we need to encounter more often in today’s church. In the end it can be sorted out with six words.

God did extraordinary miracles through (insert your name here) . . . .

Enough said.

COME HOLY SPIRIT!

J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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