The Purpose of Miracles

Paul the Apostle’s conversion is one of the greatest examples of the gospel’s power.

We see a man’s entire life change. At the core of his being, Paul moved from an enemy of the cross to an advocate for Jesus.

One way Jesus used him was as a great worker of miracles.

And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.

Acts 19:11–12 ESV

When we look at miracles in Scripture as a whole, it’s interesting to see them from a historical perspective. There were three primary periods of miracles in the Bible:

  1. The period of Moses and his leadership of the people.
  2. The period of Elijah and Elisha as prophets.
  3. The period of Jesus and his disciples.

We believe the Holy Spirit still works miracles like healing today! But it’s also important to see the period in which God was using Paul to work them.

In today’s verse, the word “miracles” is the word dynamis. This same word can also mean “power,” as it does in Acts 1:8:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

It’s clear that this period of miracles in the early Church was primarily about:

  1. Showing compassion and meeting human needs in love.
  2. Teaching spiritual truth.
  3. Marking the worker of the miracle as sent from God, thus validating their message.

The Purpose of Paul’s Miracles

Today’s passage is incredible, because we see Paul’s everyday items like “handkerchiefs and aprons” used by the Holy Spirit to heal people and cast out demons.

Just as incredible, this was happening in Ephesus, a hub of occult activity (as you can read in the verses following in Acts 19:13–20).

Through miracles, God was advancing the kingdom against Satan’s territory. And this was the main purpose of miracles in Paul’s ministry: to advance the gospel and win souls.

So, ultimately, when we read about miraculous healing or hear testimonies about them today, let’s remember that they’re to advance the gospel and bring spiritual healing at the same time as physical, mental, and emotional healing.

As you pray for miracles of healing and rebuking demonic forces, pray for both the person and the gospel to be advanced. Because these two things will always go hand-in-hand.

Ask yourself or your study group today:

  1. Do you believe the Holy Spirit empowers people to work miracles?
  2. Have you seen miracles of healing or freedom from demonic forces?
  3. How did these miracles serve to advance the gospel and glorify God?
  4. What specific miracles are you praying for right now?
  5. Are you praying that God both heals and saves through them?

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