To demonstrate is to confirm. The confirmation or the demonstration is self evident to those observing. When Jesus was asked to heal the official’s son He made an odd statement
““Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.””
He then proceeds to tell the man that the son was healed. The man believes and only arrives home the next day. He confirms the time the child was made whole and the text continues to say
“The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.”
The question now is, what was the sign and what was the sign pointing to?
- The sign was the child being made whole one day prior at the seventh hour, the same time the official had spoken to Jesus
- What therefore was the sign pointing to? That the words Jesus had spoken were true.
If Jesus had spoken about God’s power to heal and declared the child whole but the child did not recover the sign would point to invalidate the message.
In like manner Paul is saying as Jesus told the Pharisees
“but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.””
The works were anticipated of the coming Messiah, the works demonstrated and confirmed Jesus was the Messiah. Even if His words could not be accepted at face value, surely the works spoke for themselves. The Pharisees however did not deny the works, they denied the source of the works.
Paul and the apostles preached a gospel about God’s power to save men from the dominion of the flesh to eternal life. God confirmed their message was pure through signs and wonders
“So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders.”
This was something that the church has intentionally asked for, an agreement of sorts, they preached the truth and God confirmed their message with healings, signs and wonders
“And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.””
Paul explains often that these two go hand in hand, preaching the gospel and a confirmation with signs and wonders
“For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience— by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ;”
The ministry of Christ is not merely based on words but also on deeds. The deeds lacking can be for any number of reasons.
- The message is flawed and God cannot confirm it.
- There is no baptism of the Holy Spirit, only a sealing of the believer by the Holy Spirit.
- There is no prayer requests to have God confirm the word preached
- Or possibly an inhibition of the manifestations by leadership.
Examples of signs through Paul
“It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him, healed him.”
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.”
“When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand.He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds”
Acts 28:3, 5-6
“And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.”