Signs and wonders were an important part of the early church. The only way for many in those days to believe was to see sight restored to the blind and the lame to walk. In fact, Jesus promised His Apostles they would be able to do far greater things then He did (Mark 16:15-18). There are some Christians who believe that the Mark text, which is actually part of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), is still applicable and anyone who believes is able to perform the same signs and wonders as Christ and the Apostles. Mark 16:15-18 ESV
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Pay attention to the fifth word in verse 15. It reads “them”. Who are the them Jesus was speaking to?
Mark 16:14 ESV
Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.
This verse is one which the signs and wonders folks pretend isn’t in there. Clearly Jesus was speaking to His eleven disciples. The signs and wonders people claim Jesus was speaking in general terms when the text is very specific and is completely contrary to their beliefs. If you aren’t one of the eleven then Jesus wasn’t speaking to you.
The disciples didn’t believe the report that Jesus had risen from the dead. They had to see the miracle which in this case was the resurrected bodily form of Christ. If they didn’t believe, then why would the Jews and later the Gentiles believe unless the Apostles were able to perform the same miracles as Jesus? This is why they were able to do these things. We don’t need these signs today for reasons I will later describe.
The signs and wonders folks don’t like verse 14 very much. Some will claim that those of us who actually read the bible and believe without needing a sign or wonder are powerless and deny the Sovereignty of God. The reality is that as hard as they try, they can’t explain away the word “them”.
There’s another Scripture that the signs and wonders bunch don’t like to talk about. Let’s look at Mark 16:20 and see what it says;
Mark 16:20 ESV
And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.]]
The Lord worked with whom again? There’s that little word “them”. Who are them you ask? If you said the Apostles then you hit the jackpot! Far too many “thems” to explain away.
I’ll bet the signs and wonders crowd will say “if Jesus was only talking to the eleven, then what about Paul”? Glad you asked. Paul was an Apostle called by Jesus Himself to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 9). He met all the requirements for the Office and was fully equipped by the Holy Spirit to do what Jesus called Him to do (1Corinthians 15:1-11).
Here’s a challenge for the signs and wonders crowd. Please show me the following using the Scriptures and not your personal experience.
1). Show me the Scriptures where anyone other then Jesus or an Apostle (or one who accompanied them) healed anyone?
2). Show me the Scriptures where anyone other then Jesus or an Apostle cast out a demon?
Jesus was crystal clear about the deception that would take place; Matthew 24:24 ESV
For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
Apparently Jesus was concerned enough to tell His disciples to be on the lookout for “false christs and “false prophet’s”. What did He say they would do? “Perform great signs and wonders” that would “lead astray, if possible, even the elect”. If many of the signs and wonders bunch are consistent, then Jesus was a false teacher also because that’s what they label ANYONE who speaks against their movement.
Are there signs and wonders that follow those who believe? You bet there are and I’ll demonstrate this for you all.
What about the alcoholic man who drinks himself into oblivion on a daily basis? He hears the Gospel, believes and repents. His life changes dramatically and everyone who knows him is amazed at the radical change in his life. Friends and family see his miraculous transformation and want what he has. He tells them that God changed his life the day he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. These are the signs that validate the Gospel message today.
The Apostles were extraordinary men personally chosen by Jesus to preach the Gospel. For some to claim to have the same authority and supernatural gifts in my opinion, based on Scripture, is blasphemy.