Signs and wonders?

The word ‘miracles’ conjures up thoughts of mediaeval peasants gawping at ‘weeping’ statues, or queuing up to touch ‘relics’ of dubious provenance. Or maybe of a con man (probably American) advertising a healing show – for which he charges an entrance fee.

Genuine miracles seem to be few and far between, at least in the Western world. I’ve seen many things that I would describe as ‘answers to prayer’, including healings – but I couldn’t describe them as miracles in the strict sense of the word.

Jesus did of course warn us about false prophets who “will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive… even the elect.” (Matthew 24:24) Miracles can be faked; consequently, it’s not difficult for the unscrupulous to make a good living out of them, and they don’t actually prove anything.

Jesus also said, “a wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign.” (Matthew 16:4)  I can’t speak for the mediaeval peasants, but I don’t know anyone who has become a believer as a result of witnessing something miraculous. Nor do Christians depend on a regular supply of signs and wonders in order to sustain our faith. God is to be found, and can be known, in everyday life.

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