The New Testament is replete with the Miracles of God and Miracles which are caused by thepower of God working through holy individuals: The Saints. Throughout the chapters of the Four Gospels and the Epistles, we read of testimonies where the Lord Jesus Christ cured illness (Luke 13:10-13); people who were possessed by demons (Mark 5:1-13) and caused natural wonders to occur (Matthew 8:23-27). The above listed miracles are but a few in order to offer as an example the different types of miracles which are presented to the faithful throughout the Holy Scriptures.
The Miracles which Christ accomplished throughout His three year ministry were signs of His divinity, His power, and the Coming of the Kingdom of Heaven which will initiate complete love, justice and peace in the world. After the Crucifixion, Jesus promises His Holy Apostles and His Church that He will send upon them the All-Holy Spirit which will infuse the Church with power, strength and the ability to accomplish miracles in the Name of Christ. Despite the physical absence of Jesus after His Crucifixion and Resurrection, the Ministry of the Church would continue in power and glory because of the presence and outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
From the first moments of the establishment of the Church on Pentecost (50 days after the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus) until the very moment that you read this reflection, the Church has continued to perform miracles in the name of Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Book which is called The Acts of the Holy Apostles which chronicles the first days and years of the Christian Church offers us the authentic and true witness of the Blessed Apostles who preached the Gospels of Christ throughout the World and who were the cause of miracles.
Miracles continue to this day and will continue to occur until the Second Coming of Christ. The Orthodox Church confesses and understands that all miracles come about because of the Power of God. God chooses men and women of faith as vehicles and vessels of His healing powers. In other words, men and women who have lived holy lives of prayer, fasting, repentance, confession, giving to the poor and liturgical communion with God through the Divine Sacraments have from the ancient days of the Church been chosen by God to accomplish miracles in His name. These men and women are considered Saints in the Orthodox Christian tradition. These Saints have lived lives pleasing to God and are intercessors before the Throne of God for all humanity. Quite simply put, the Saints of God have an intimate relationship with the Lord and pray for us and on our behalf. The Saints are our spiritual kin, friends and relatives who stand ready to pray, intercede and help us on our spiritual journey to our own relationship with God. The prayers of the “Holy Ones” are mighty and powerful before God and throughout the centuries have profoundly impacted on the lives of people in need.
Throughout the New Testament, we find three terms which are related to miracles:
1. (Thavma) – The wonder.
The word Thavma usually refers to something which is of extraordinary or spectacular significance. It is an event and act of God which causes people to watch in astonishment at His mighty power. It is in most cases the reaction of the people to the action and power of God.
2. (Dinamis) – Power/strength.
This word is usually seen in the Light of the power of the Most High God. It is His strength which is manifested and appears to mankind as it works within and through the Body of Christ (The Holy Church), the Saints and the faithful.
3. (Simeia) – Signs.
This third category of miracles is the word which is principally used when describing such events. In the Jewish spiritual tradition, it is the Confirmation of that which you are doing is pleasing to God or is of God.
The Evangelists, Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John use this word to a great extent to show and reveal a more profound and deeper spiritual meaning. The signs are miraculous events which are pointing to a much deeper and significant teaching and purpose for the faithful. In the Gospel of St. John, the changing of water into wine is a sign which points to the more significant image of the Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion). The healing of the blind man is a sign which directs our attention to recurring power of man by God and to the image and importance of Holy Baptism. They are “miracles” and “signs” which point to that which is greater – Faith in God.
Miracles happen every day of our lives. The rising and setting of the Sun, the flow of the tides of the oceans, the rivers and streams and the winds of the air are miraculous. The creation in all its glory is a miracle. The love between husband and wife, between children and parents, the birth of a child and the creativity of the human mind and the gift of the human body is all miraculous. We need to open our eyes and see and recognize the daily miracles of God.