MIRACLES & BELIEF
In Acts 9,
read that “all that dwelt at Lydda and
Sharon saw him (Aeneas) and turned to the Lord”
(v.35), and with reference to the raising of Dorcas,
“It was known throughout all Joppa: and
many believed in the Lord” (v.42).
The question was raised about the relationship between seeing a
miracle and belief and turning to the Lord. It was suggested that if
these miracles took place today, many would still turn to the Lord.
Others were not quite so sure, and reference was made to
where it states that people would not
be persuaded even though one rose
from the dead.
There is a need
to differentiate between believing because we have seen, and the
blessing that comes on those who
have not seen, and yet have believed.
(John 20:29). There is a need for us to recognise that
“without faith it is impossible to please
God” (Heb 11:6).
The Apostle John has some interesting
things to say on this subject. He writes of the Lord that “though
He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on
Him” (John 12:37).
The Lord performed many miracles, healing
the sick, opening the eyes of the blind, raising the dead, etc.
Though the miracles occurred before their very eyes, the people by
and large failed to believe in Him, but obstinately hardened their
hearts against the truth. Such indeed is the nature of the sin of
unbelief, and so deeply rooted is it, that the most powerful means,
and mighty works, will not bring a person to believe in Christ,
without the even more powerful influence of the grace of God.
In his gospel John often records his own
reflections on the scenes he describes. Here in
John 12:37, having arrived at what
was virtually the close of our Lord’s public ministry, he comes to
the conclusion that our Lord’s ministry was largely fruitless on the
bulk of the now doomed people. They had a kind of intellectual
faith, but were filled with doubts when they could not understand.
There was no real trust.
Similarly in Mat
11:20, it is recorded that mighty works did not lead to
repentance in many cities of Galilee. As far as John was concerned,
led by the Holy Spirit, this lack of faith fulfilled the OT prophecy
of Isa 53:1.
Certainly a number did turn to the Lord
because of miracles, but they would appear to be the exception
rather than the rule, and sometimes it was faith based on sight.