Tue 11 Dec 2012
Signs: What are they?
The New Testament Greek word for signs is semeion, meaning a ‘sign, mark or token.’ 
A God-given sign is an event that has the mark of God upon it. His Divine power and supernatural intervention is the only explanation for what is taking place.
A sign is like a flashing light proclaiming, ‘God is at work here!’
Many Different Signs from God
When you think of ‘signs’, what comes to mind? In the church today, we tend to use the term ‘sign’ to describe an unusual miracle or manifestation.
However in the New Testament the term is used for many different displays of God’s power, including: miracles (John 2:11), resurrection (John 11:43-47), deliverance (Mark 16:17), provision (John 6:12-14), healing (John 6:2), tongues and prophecy. (1 Cor 14:22-25) John in particular consistently refers to the miracles of Jesus as ‘signs.’ In his Gospel, John made a systematic report of signs that included turning water to wine, the feeding of the 5,000, and Lazarus’ resurrection. (John 2:11, 4:54)
‘…and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick.’ (John 6:2)
In addition to healing and deliverance, remarkable miracles that Jesus performed included:
- Turning water into wine (John 2:11)
- An overflow catch of fish (Luke 5:6)
- Fish with a coin in its mouth (Matt 17:27)
- Calming the storm with a word of command (Luke 8:24)
- Walking on water (John 6:19)
- Transfiguration (Matt 17:1-8)
- Multiplication of bread and fish (John 6:1-15)
- Cursing the fig tree (Matt 21:18-21)
Many of these revealed Jesus’ supremacy over the laws of nature.
Signs also accompanied Jesus’ birth (Matt 2:2, Luke 2:12) and death. (Matt 27:45, 51)
No Limit to the Signs God can do
Signs in scripture are diverse, and many miraculous things God did were not repeated.  This tells us that there is no limit to the many ways God will reveal Himself to people.
Jesus said that those who believed in Him would perform more and even greater works after His resurrection. (John 14:12-14)
Who can Perform Signs and Miracles?
Signs, wonders and miracles are a special mark of Apostolic ministry in the New Testament (2 Cor 12:12), but are not confined to the Apostles.
Stephen and Philip, who are deacons-turned-evangelists, do great signs and wonders in Jesus’ Name as they preach the Gospel. (Acts 6:8, 8:6) And prophets such as Agabus bring supernatural insights from God. (Acts 11:28)
However, miraculous ministry is not confined to those in the five-fold ministry office. (Eph 4:11-13)
When Paul lists the gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed amongst individual believers (1 Cor 12:7), he includes:
- Faith (1 Cor 12:9)
- Healing (1 Cor 12:9)
- Miraculous powers (1 Cor 12:10)
- Prophecy (1 Cor 12:10)
Through spiritual gifts, miraculous signs are distributed throughout the body as a part of the regular ministry of the church.
In the New Testament, individual believers, carrying authority as sons and daughters of God also have the ability to pray and see God’s power released in Jesus’ Name (Matt 28:19-20).
Partnering with God
Observing the way that Jesus performed miracles shows us how a supernatural life is sourced in our intimate relationship with God. (John 5:19)
In the miracles of Jesus we see perfect unity between the Father, who ordained them, Jesus who acted in obedience to perform them and the Holy Spirit, whose power produced the miracle.
Peter observed this Divine unity when he stated:
‘…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.’ (Acts 10:38)
Signs can be Public or Personal
Many signs and miracles of Jesus were performed in front of crowds.
However, most of the crowd attending the wedding of Cana was unaware that Jesus was the source of a miracle. Only Mary, the servants and Jesus’ disciples were privy to the truth. (John 2:9-10)
Why did Jesus direct Peter to throw out a line and catch a single fish from the Sea of Galilee to provide the coin that would pay for His and Peter’s temple tax? (Matt 17:24-26)
Healing and deliverance impacted individuals and their families.
The coin in the mouth of a single fish may have been a very personal sign from the heart of God, speaking to Peter of His ongoing provision. For in the future, Peter would gain a living, not as a fisherman, but through serving as a leader in the church. (1 Cor 9:4-6)
In upcoming posts I will be considering the questions, ‘What is the purpose of miraculous signs?’ and ‘How can we tell a sign is really from God—and be protected from the ‘deceiving signs’ Jesus talked about?’
 Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. 1996. Ref 4592, semeion, sign (also ‘miracle’)
 I have focused on the NT in the above study. Signs also have a prominence in the OT, for example signs of covenant, such as the rainbow (Gen 9) and circumcision, the miraculous signs God performed through Moses in Egypt, the miracles of the prophets Elijah and Elisha, and so on.
Do you have any testimonies or ideas on the topic of miraculous signs? Do you have any specific questions you would like answers for as we explore the topic further? Leave a comment in the comments box. If the comments section is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.
© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church
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