How miracles happen nowadays
Miracles are not the solution—they are merely a reference to it. Rather, it is more about performing miracles of our own and sending a signal—or showing a kind of sign—in the process. How, why, and to what end? Following are some points from a divine service with the Chief Apostle.
It was a virtual event rather than a personal visit: since his trip had to be cancelled, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider conducted the divine service originally scheduled to take place in East Africa on 16 August 2020 from France. Congregations in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and South Sudan were connected by internet, radio, and television.
“Jesus answered them and said, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.” – So reads the Bible text from John 6: 26. The context: after the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus went to the other side of Lake Gennesaret, and the people followed Him. Why did they do that, actually?
Miracles and their message
“They only experienced the miracle, but they did not understand its message!” explained the Chief Apostle: “All they saw was that they now had something to eat.” This is an age-old problem, as “there is a difference between miracles and signs.”
- The Old Testament tells us of many miracles performed by God. “But God does not need to demonstrate that He is omnipotent.” His message was simply: “I love you. I am with you. I want to deliver you. That was what He was signalling!”
- Later, prophets such as Elijah and Elisha came along and likewise performed miracles. Their message in so doing was simply: “Look, we have been sent by God. He is here. He looks after His people, even in difficult times!”
- The New Testament tells of the miracles of Jesus. He often said, “Your faith has made you well.” And this was the message: “If you believe in Jesus Christ, and if you follow His teaching, you will find redemption.”
- Finally, the Apostles—for example, Peter—also performed their miracles. Their message: “We have been sent by Jesus Christ. Listen to us and you will find redemption in Christ.” — That was the sign. That was the message!
Showing that Jesus reigns
And what about today? “Naturally, God can still perform miracles,” emphasised the Church leader. “But that is not the most important thing.” After all, “Jesus never intended to improve the life of man here on this earth.” Rather, “God sent His messengers to announce that those who believe in Jesus Christ and follow Him will be redeemed from sin and can have eternal life.”
In order to impart this message, God makes use of signs. “Let those who believe in Me be one.” – “That is a sign that Jesus Himself defined.” This means that we must be
- “able to forgive one another. That is a sign of the presence of Jesus.”
- “able to love one another, even though we are very, very different from one another. That is a sign of the love of Jesus.”
- “remain united, not matter what happens. Let us show the world these signs.”
Showing that the apostolate is at work
Yet another sign: the Church is to be a legible letter of Christ as a result of the service of the apostolate, as Apostle Paul put it (2 Corinthians 3: 3). Here too, Chief Apostle Schneider lists three characteristics:
- “This is the sign that our Apostles are true Apostles, namely because their teaching leads to a spiritual development in the congregation, and we are no longer the same as before.”
- “This is the sign that we remain faithful, and trust in Jesus, no matter what happens. He told His disciples, ‘I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’”
- “We are grateful for the grace of God and would like to bring our love to expression. For this reason we serve the church. Even if there is no visible blessing, we continue to serve. That is the sign of the true apostolate. That is the sign of the true work of Jesus in our midst.”
The Chief Apostle’s conclusion: “Miracles are signs that reveal God’s love and activity of salvation. We are called upon to be witnesses of the gospel and to confirm the activity of the apostolate. The Apostles prepare us for the miracle of the resurrection.”