I don’t know.
I have my suspicions, and my suspicions are that He does … just as He did. I don’t believe – as I have already posted several times – that there is a time, date, or event prophesied or spoken of as having passed in scripture which indicates that the work of the Holy Spirit among people is over, or that it has been limited only to the written word.
I also do not believe that scripture makes a distinction between what we would call miraculous gifts and less-than-miraculous gifts. Both kinds, to our reckoning, disappear when “that which is perfect is come”: knowledge as well as prophecies and tongues (1 Corinthians 13).
Plus, while some may perceive anything unusual or anything accomplished through the Spirit as miraculous, others like me will more narrowly define miraculous as “visible, audible, tangible manifestations of supernatural power” (per my previous post Does the Holy Spirit Only Work Miraculously? ).
So if you disagree with my perception of those items, you are not likely to agree with my suspicions about the Spirit’s work today.
Confession: I have never witnessed anything that I would describe as a miracle. Ever.
But as Jay Guin observed in a recent post on this subject, “… absence of proof isn’t proof of absence.” (I’ve never seen anyone who collects kewpie dolls, but that doesn’t prove that none of them exists.)
I’ve had unusual experiences, and I can’t explain them, and I have benefited from them – and have seen others benefit from them. I know Whom I feel compelled to credit them to. But I have no proof.
And that’s fine.
As always, what I believe is rooted in scripture:
I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.
Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples. ~ Psalm 77:11-14
This psalmist was apparently Asaph, and he remembered “miracles of long ago.”
He was a musician; a contemporary of David, and very few miraculous events were recorded in that era. A sound in the tops of poplar trees cued David to victory over the Philistines (2 Samuel 5). Uzzah was struck dead for touching the ark of the covenant (2 Samuel 6). That’s about it.
Yet Asaph still praised the Lord as “the God who performs (present tense) miracles.”
Do we seem to be living in a similar era when the tap of miracles-poured-out has run dry? Are we in a drought of divine intervention?
I think that it’s worth noting that there were spans of biblical history – usually about four hundred years at a time – when God did not speak to His people – likely because they had not been speaking to Him. Then He would show His providence and glory in memorable ways. Like deliverance from Egypt by Moses. Or deliverance from sin by Jesus.
It isn’t like He owes us any more miracles.
But it also isn’t like God doesn’t love us enough to confirm His word or manifest His compassion through miracles today.
I hope to share some further thoughts on this as I have opportunity to organize them, but for right now I just want to share this one:
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” ~ John 20:24-29
You may have heard a sermon that took the notion that Jesus was scolding Thomas for doubting what the other apostles told him they had seen and heard. Maybe you heard it developed to the point that people who have not seen yet have believed are somehow more blessed than actual witnesses.
Let me propose an equal possibility, because the text doesn’t say either of those things.
Thomas was blessed to see, hear and touch the evidence of Jesus’ resurrection in His very own body. Maybe Jesus was trying to impress on Thomas how very blessed he was to have been a witness, and what a responsibility that was to bless others with his testimony. Maybe Jesus said those words to Thomas how important it was to be more persuasive than his fellow apostles had been with him.
You see, I’m afraid the two other teachings can be knotted up in an arrogance that teaches the Spirit as active only in the written word today, and that those of us who believe without confirmation beyond reading or hearing it are somehow better, more righteous, more blessed than those who see and hear and touch.
Don’t you think there will be millions of us come-latelies in heaven who would queue up for eternity between velvet-chained stanchions just to have the opportunity Thomas had?
I’d be one of them.
We are not more blessed – or less blessed – than those who saw Jesus, witnessed the miracles He did or that the apostles did or that others did by virtue of the living Holy Spirit’s gifts within them. All who believe and obey are blessed with resurrection and eternity with God.
Let me just ask this … and understand that I am shamefacedly asking myself this question, too:
Do we bless others by vigorously persuading them about the gospel of Jesus Christ; by witnessing what we have seen, heard and touched … lives irrevocably changed by the power of His grace; souls with the deposit of the Holy Spirit marking and sealing their resurrection to come? Do we remember and proclaim the miracles of the past and still praise the Lord as “the God who does miracles”?
If we don’t, then why should we expect to witness the glory Thomas witnessed?