The definition of miraculous is “occurring through divine or supernatural intervention, or manifesting such power.” Some define it as unbelievable but the bible makes it clear that it is believable. The church today has accepted the mundane and ordinary as believable and has called the miraculous unbelievable. Today in the church there is an absence of miracles as described in scripture. This is because the church rebelled against God so God turned His face and we lost the power of the Holy Spirit. We talked yesterday about salvation is the greatest miracle yet the miraculous happened right along side salvation.
John the Baptist prepared the way for the miraculous. Luke 1:11 “Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: 13 Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Jesus said later, Matthew 11:14 “And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. 15 Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Many need to read this verse as they think Elijah is still coming. John himself said Mark 1:7 “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” So there is far more available than just being baptized in water.
But even John the Baptist had to be sure. He knew the end was near and his life would soon be over, so he sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He was the Messiah. Matthew 11:2 “When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus response is interesting in light of what today’s church believes. Today’s church would respond, look at the building, programs, number of baptisms, number of salvations, number attending and even number of online followers. Jesus answers differently. 4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” Jesus gave proof that He was the Messiah but the church can’t do that. Yes everyone says they follow Jesus but they can’t say they do as He did as there is no proof.
If we look at John a little further we see something else that is interesting. John 10:40 “Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There he stayed, 41 and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.” 42 And in that place many believed in Jesus.” So here we have this amazing servant of God preparing the way just by speaking truth as that was what John was could to do. Matthew 3:5 “People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 11 I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” John baptized with water but he prepared the way for the one who baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire.
If you look ahead to Acts, you see Paul meeting with some disciples. Acts 19:1 “While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. 4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.” Today most churches place a lot of emphasis on water baptism, which is John’s baptism of repentance. There is nothing wrong with this baptism as we saw Acts 10:44 “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” There is more available to those who believe. If Peter or Paul did not come along, they would have just kept going thinking they had all they needed.
Could it be that because John never performed a sign, that the church has adapted this as the norm for the church just as they have adapted to his baptism and not the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is like those Paul talked to who didn’t even know there was a Holy Spirit. The church remains powerless without this baptism. As we talked about yesterday the charismatics have been deceived by this baptism as they think their muttering is a sign of the Holy Spirit’s presence; it is not. The church desperately needs the fire of Pentecost to fall on us once again and continue to fall so that we can go and do as Jesus did. We do not want the ordinary and mundane. Matthew 12:22 “Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” Don’t be content with church as you have known it. There is so much more available to us. The miraculous was supposed to be normal Christianity, not abnormal. Jesus is still the Messiah, King of kings and Lord of Lords. Matthew 4:6 “The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” We are still in darkness and we still need the light. Pray that His kingdom comes near to us again.