John and Carol Arnott are the Founding Pastors and Presidents of Catch the Fire (formerly known as the Toronto...
The will and heart of God the Father was brought to planet earth through the supernatural words and the works of Jesus, the Son of God. He brought Heaven to earth through the mighty workings of the Holy Spirit.
There were healings, yes, but also signs and wonders. Wonders and miracles are not just healings or raising the dead. There were many other signs as well.
Jesus did many miraculous signs that were not motivated to help a suffering person. He did them to impress. In fact, His very first miracle was turning water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee (See John 4).These guests could have survived just fine without more wine. So what was the purpose?
The scripture states that He showed the disciples His glory and they believed on Him. The miracle was intended to impress and convince his disciples and followers that He was indeed the Messiah, the chosen One of God. There were many other things, too, such as walking on water, arriving instantly at the shore from the middle of the Sea of Galilee, multiplying bread and fish on two occasions, a supernatural catch of fish on two occasions, supernatural escapes from mob violence in Nazareth and Jerusalem, a fig tree drying up to the roots overnight and calming a severe storm instantly.
These are miraculous signs and wonders, supernatural interventions of heaven into the ordinary course of events here on earth. In the list of the charismata or gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12, we find ‘working of miracles’ as something completely different than ‘gifts of healing.’
These charismata did not disappear with the death of the apostles as cessationists claim. In fact, quite the contrary, the scriptures clearly teach that miraculous signs, wonders and healings are to accompany the preaching of the gospel not only by the apostles but by every believer.
Let us look at John 14:12. Jesus said, “He who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do, and greater works than these shall he do because I go to the Father.” Clearly, the supernatural works of Jesus are to be carried on in the ministries of every believer. And we ought to expect even greater works because He returned to the Father and sent the Holy Spirit to fill every believer. It is the Holy Spirit who will empower every believer to fulfill this amazing prophetic word of Jesus.
This is so consistent with Jesus’ own ministry methods. Jesus stepped into a powerful ministry of signs and wonders following His water baptism and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Him in the likeness of a dove.
From that moment on, He proclaimed that the Kingdom of God was at hand which meant that it was and is now available. Heaven had come to earth. The Holy Spirit brought the supernatural power of heaven to earth as Jesus operated in Divine power and authority. This is what He modeled for His disciples. This is what impressed and persuaded the people.
However, not all of them were convinced that these powers were from God. Some thought that they were of the devil. This also still happens today. Many people actually believe that Satan can work miracles but that God cannot, or at least does not.
If this is what you have been taught, please consider how illogical this is. Jesus set the standard for supernatural ministry with healings, deliverances from demons, signs and wonders. That was His method of converting and convincing people. The Kingdom of God was to come with power and evidence of the supernatural. This is what He modeled for the apostles.
Then the day came when He delegated His power and authority to the twelve. Luke 9:1 says that He gave them power and authority over sickness, disease and all demons and then sent them out to proclaim that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand, available to all who would believe. It was demonstrated by signs, wonders and miraculous cures. This was a great success as they returned from their mission with joy (Luke 19), yet soon after that, he ordained 70 others also and sent them out to do the same thing.
So isn’t it time you got yourself a bigger God and a smaller devil?
Jesus’ supernatural strategy has been set in motion, coming from the Head and flowing down to the whole body of Christ.
The Apostle Paul, who came to Christ later, understood this. His own conversion came by way of supernatural intervention.
Miracles were part of his ministry. In 1 Corinthians 2:4, he says that his preaching was not with the persuasive words of human wisdom, but in the way he demonstrated the power of the Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 4:20 he states that the Kingdom of God is not in word but in power.
Why is this? So that your faith would not be built upon the wisdom of man but would be in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:5) It is the Gospel, the good news of Jesus the Messiah, who is the deliverer, the Savior, the rescuer, and it must come to us with convincing supernatural power. This is the supernatural gospel that swept the Greek and Roman world out of paganism and polytheism and into the truth of Jesus Christ. Nothing but a powerful, supernaturally demonstrated message would have converted the pagan world to serve the Jewish God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; The God and Father of Jesus the Messiah, the Savior of the whole world.
So what are signs and wonders? A sign is something that points to something much larger than itself. A sign is a messenger that helps you get where you need to go. It is an advertisement that is supposed to draw you into the greater thing, the real goods.
A wonder is something that makes you wonder. It is something that arrests your thought processes, fills you with awe and causes you to realize that what has just happened is not normal.
God has just invaded your space and life. And so God, who many feel is far away, indifferent to them or even non-existent, has just revealed Himself in a powerful and personal way that cannot be explained or denied. This resonates with the human heart that is desperate to know the meaning and purpose of life. In the wake of a miracle, life becomes very meaningful because a powerful, supernatural God is truly in your heart and understanding.
Healings and deliverances are happening with increasing regularity and intensity, and so are signs and wonders.
I recently heard the story of the conversion to Christ of a prominent Iranian Muslim leader. One day while visiting his farm in the country, he realized that he had locked his keys inside his car. He would have to walk the considerable distance back to town. Though he was very hungry, he decided to first offer up his usual evening prayers. He got down on his knees to pray, and then smelled the heavenly scent of fresh baked bread. As he looked all around, he noticed there, right beside him towel containing hot bread as though fresh from the oven.
Puzzled and wondering how on earth fresh bread would be lying there on the ground, he proceeded to break off a piece and eat it. Suddenly he heard a booming voice shouting, “I am the Bread of Life, stand up on your feet.”
Being a well-read scholar, he knew that the Bread of Life was Jesus. A blazing brilliant figure approached him and said, “Go back into the city and I will tell you what you must do.” He suddenly realized that it was pouring rain in a circle all around him, yet it was not raining everywhere else. Quite shaken and disturbed, he returned to his car to discover the door unlocked and the keys in the ignition.
Three days later Jesus, the Bread of Life appeared to him again in a dream. He saw a large tree in the dream with the pictures of twenty top leaders in Iran. He was told to go to them all and tell them what had just happened to him, how the Bread of Life had appeared to him. This story is shaking the nation of Iran.
I recently heard another similar story from Egypt. There had been a tragic automobile accident in the city of Cairo. The mother of two little girls was unfortunately dead on arrival at hospital. The funeral was held the same day according to Islamic tradition, and the family tomb was sealed up. The woman’s two little girls were missing and could not be found anywhere. Weeks went by.
There was another death in the same family and the family tomb was again reopened. In the tomb the family discovered the two missing little girls, healthy, alive and well. The little girls had clung unnoticed to their beloved departed mother. Jesus had come and rescued them.
The people asked, “How did you survive for three weeks without food or water?” They replied, “A man who said his name was Jesus, dressed in white with holes in his hands, came through the wall and brought us bread and water every day.” Cairo media published this story all over the nation of Egypt.
The Egyptian media televised the story of how two little girls amazingly were kept alive while entombed for three weeks without food or water because a man dressed in white with holes in his hands came through the wall and brought them life-giving nourishment. This story is a powerful witness for the nation of Egypt. The gospel of Jesus Christ went forth with signs and wonders.
God is up to something folks! Signs and wonders are definitely on the increase. Yet we desire not only to marvel at the supernatural miracles that God is doing in the nations of the world. We desire to see these things in our lives too.
I will never forget our Intercession Conference in the spring of 1999. Carol and I had just returned from South Africa where we had seen several dental miracles. God supernaturally put gold fillings in people’s teeth. When we showed a video clip of what had happened in South Africa to the Toronto crowd, faith exploded within our own conference. Folks began receiving gold fillings, gold crowns in their mouths and various other dental miracles. Infected gums were healed, teeth were straightened, and TMJ was eliminated. Several people ended up with four, five or even more amazing gold fillings and crowns. We were all surprised and astounded. By the end of that conference, over 300 people testified to dental miracles of one kind or another. Some fillings had even completely disappeared.
The question remained afterward however. Why? It was a sign and a wonder that pointed to a supernatural caring, loving God who does miracles in the name of Jesus.
Why would God fill teeth? I believe that He wanted to put His Glory in people’s mouths. He wanted to heal and repair one of the most common diseases of our day – tooth decay. He wanted to pour out signs and wonders that would point people to the supernatural Kingdom of God which is now at hand.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t just want to read about these things in the Bible, or merely hear similar stories from far away nations. I want to see this sort of thing regularly in our local churches right here in the west. And, I want to DO IT.
John 14:12, says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
Now that Jesus has prophesied it, and He has promised it. Let’s believe Him and go for it!
This archived article was written by John Arnott for release in Aug, 2004. Circumstances and situations may have changed regarding the author, locations and ministries. This content may therefore be outdated or misinformed.
Sign up to receive a periodical digest of some of the best content from this magazine.