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Friday, 3 June 2016


A miracle is an event not explicable by natural or scientific laws, which is brought about by God or other supernatural force (such as an angel).

The Bible has no word exactly like "miracle." Rather, the most typical word is "sign" with the emphasis being God demonstrating his underlying normal activity in remarkable ways to help people's faith in Him.

The gospels record three sorts of miracles performed by Jesus: exorcisms, cures, and nature wonders. Jesus' attributed his healing gifts to His heavenly Father, whom He glorified when performing His miracles and many became His followers after He'd ministered to them. The first public miracle that Jesus performed was turning water into wine.

Jesus healing the paralytic by Palma il Giovane, 1592

Out of the 3,779 verses in the four gospels, 727 (195) of the total relate specifically to the healing of physical and mental illnesses and the resurrection of the dead.

In the New Testament, the greatest miracle is the resurrection of Jesus, the event central to Christianity.

The New Testament records several miracles of healing performed by Saint Paul including raising a young man to life after he'd died in a fall. The youngster had fallen out of the third storey window after dropping off to sleep during a long sermon by the apostle.

In his early writings Augustine of Hippo argued that healing was meant for Jesus and the New Testament Christians only and that believers should not look for a continuation of the practice. However by the time he came to write his book Retractions at the end of his life,  Augustine had changed his mind because of his experiences as Bishop of Hippo. He wrote "I realized how many miracles were occurring in our own day and which were so like the miracles of old…how wrong it would be to allow the memory of these marvels of Divine power to perish from among our people."

Christian countries in early medieval Europe carried out the practice of trial by ordeal on the premise that God would help the innocent by performing a miracle on their behalf. There was ordeal by fire where the accused had to walk through flames. If the accused managed to come through without major injury then they were judged innocent. However if the flames devoured them then they were guilty. There was also ordeal by swimming where the accused were judged by the water. If guilty they rose up to the surface (rejected by the water), if they were innocent they were accepted by the water and sunk, but were (hopefully fished out in time.

Water-ordeal. Miniature from the chronicle.

Emma of Normandy, the wife of King Canute, once had to go through this trial by ordeal. Her test was to walk on nine red-hot ploughshares without injury. She miraculously managed to walk over the blades completely unscathed and was thus declared innocent. She expressed her thanks to God by giving nine manors to the Church of Westminster.

In the ten years following the murder of Archbishop Becket by four of the king's knights at Canterbury Cathedral. around 700 miraculous cures were recorded at the martyred saint's shrine.

John Wesley recalled in his journal how after he fell ill, words from the Gospel of Mark prompted his recovery.
"I was obliged to lie down for most part of the day being easy only in that posture. Yet in the evening my weakness was suspended while I was calling sinners to repentance. But at our love feast that followed beside the pain in my back and head and the fever which still continued upon me, just as I began to pray, I was seized with such a cough that I could hardly speak. At the same time words came strongly in my mind 'These signs shall follow them that believe' (Mark 16 v 17). I called on Jesus aloud to 'increase my faith' and to confirm the word of his grace. While I was speaking my pain vanished away, the fever left me, my bodily strength returned and for many weeks I felt neither weakness or pain."

John Wesley by George Romney.jpg

At the turn of the 21st century, a premature baby, Iyanna, was born not breathing and without a heartbeat. Despite the doctor's best attempts, she could not be revived, and the doctors left the dead infant in the mother's arms. Suddenly, after more than 65 minutes without a heartbeat, little Iyanna began to breathe on her own. A fortnight later, Iyanna left the hospital being hailed by everyone as the Miracle Baby.
A two-year-old Iyanna walked out on stage on Oprah Winfrey's Good Friday show in 2002, a perfectly normal little girl. Dr. Clemons, the physician who had tried to revive the limp infant in the very beginning, said this on national television: "This has to be in the works and acts of God. I really believe there's no other explanation for it."


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