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Explain the term ‘miracle’

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Georgia Smith 10H April 2001 (a) (i) Explain the term 'miracle' The word miracle can have different meanings for different people and when it is applied to different situations its meaning can alter. From a religious perspective, a miracle is a word used to describe a phenomenal event for the good of a person, which is believed to have a divine cause, i.e, it is linked to God's action. In today's secular society it could be any wonderful or surprising event like the birth of a baby. Whether a person believes this is an act of God or not, they may still look upon at as a miracle. The word miracle is sometimes used for manufacturing purposes; 'This moisturiser works miracles!' Again, it depends on ones personal definition of a 'miracle' as to whether this is true or not. For Christians a miracle is a sign, or something of significance pointing towards Jesus, showing his divine power which includes the power of God acting in, with or through Jesus. Miracles didn't just take place when Jesus was alive, The Old Testament shows they happened before his time and still take place today. In Luke's Gospel, the miracles that Jesus performed were significant events taking place through, what appears to be God's power to save and resulting in something astonishing to marvel at. It is rarely suggested that Jesus performed magic or violated the laws of nature for evil purposes. (ii) Describe how Jesus was presented as a worker of miracles giving examples from Luke's Gospel. Throughout Luke's Gospel it is clear that he is concerned with presenting Jesus as a worker of miracles and as the Messiah. Luke viewed his miracle stories as actual signs that the power of God was at work within Jesus. Jesus lived at a time when the sick, lame, simple, weak, and sinful were looked upon as burdens of society and frequently cast out from the community. Luke presents Jesus as having the complete opposite view to this. ...read more.


The Church has done it's duty by passing in the important teaching of forgiveness but it is up to the individual to live this example. At the end of a person's life they are given the chance to confess their sins with the last rites, through the power of God something wonderful happens and our sins are forgiven. There are well known places of pilgrimage for healing the sick like Lourdes which are directly related to healing miracles. Just as the friends of the paralysed man went to great lengths to take their friend to Jesus so today people also go to great lengths to take their sick friends to Lourdes. Mary points to the love of her son, this is the reason Lourdes links with Jesus. There is no denying that there is something spiritual about Lourdes, it is as if God has picked it out, among a small handful of other places, to be a place of great significance in healing. Understandably some people find it difficult to believe in healing miracles but with cases like that of Jean-Pierre Bely it is hard not to. Bely was paralysed with multiple sclerosis and had attended the traditional October Rosary Pilgrimage at Lourdes in 1987. Within hours he felt an indescribable change, God had touched him personally and he could walk again. It wasn't until twelve years later that this was officially recognised as a healing miracle. By 1978 sixty-four official miracles had been recorded at Lourdes, which is not only recognised as a place of historic importance but also for Christians, a modern wonder a source of Jesus' continuing power to heal today The Eucharist itself is recognised as an act of reconciliation within the community. People are able to receive the word of God, forgive each other especially in the sign of peace and go away feeling inspired by their experience. People who are willing to show humiliation and approach God, to believe in and be open to the healing powers of Christ can be helped. ...read more.


Some miracles of the Bible could be scientifically explained today, for example the miracle of Moses parting the Red Sea. After hearing about the explanation I did some research on the internet and discovered one popular theory. The parting of the Red Sea is explained by that at a certain time of the year there is an area of the sea bed, which is completely exposed due to seasonal winds, and stretches from one side to the other. Or with relevance to explanation of the healing miracles in Luke; the story of The Feeding of the Five Thousand. It has been suggested that Jesus was standing quite near to the entrance cave where the Quamran community kept their supplies, so he had easy access to a large supply of bread. These theories attempt to remove any mystery from the stories, as though was the gospel writers simply trying to show that the Kingdom of God had come to heal the world. For many Christians today, 'miracles' are events that make God real to them and enable them to feel as if Jesus was the Messiah and did establish the Kingdom of God. Even if a person's disease is cured medically, with the help of modern science it could still be described as a healing miracle. Their cure may have been inspired by a person under the guidance of Christ through prayer or may contain a natural substance which God put on the earth. It is impossible to make a statement on whether or not healing miracles take place today as it is a personal and individual response to a situation. In my opinion healing miracles do happen but I can understand the reluctance to believe in miracles at all. It has been established that the miracles Jesus performed were not magical but actions filled with compassion and aided by the power of God. Therefore, there is no reason why these sorts of miracles could not happen today, as illustrated in the life and work of contemporary Christians discussed in the previous section. ...read more.

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