When true servants of the Lord Jesus Christ walk the earth among people of faith, miracles happen. The scriptures are quite clear that these men work signs, wonders, and miracles among the people. Let’s review some of the signs of true servants of Jesus.
Acts 5:12, 15-16
12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people…Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.
Think about this. Peter didn’t even have to touch the people he healed, merely his shadow passing over sick persons would heal them. And they were healed every one. That doesn’t mean they took months to recuperate, or were buoyed in their spirits for a short while before succumbing to their illness. They were healed. Every one. And it wasn’t just one or two people, it was multitudes of sick people.
Paul, despite not having been with Jesus during his ministry, also turns it up to 11 with his miracles. Just having a piece of cloth that had touched Paul was enough to heal the sick and cast out devils.
And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
Acts 9 and Acts 20 record Peter and Paul individually raising the dead. Both of these apostles performed the same miracles that Jesus performed during his ministry. Now perhaps those were extremely rare circumstances. What about common everyday healing?
And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.
And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God.
And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked: The same heard Paul speak: who steadfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.
In both these cases, Peter and Paul healed crippled men. They immediately jumped up and walked. No physical therapy necessary. Maybe Peter and Paul were the exceptions. Maybe God never expected all his servants to do those things. What about the twelve disciples that were called among the Nephites?
4 Nephi 1:5
And there were great and marvelous works wrought by the disciples of Jesus, insomuch that they did heal the sick, and raise the dead, and cause the lame to walk, and the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear; and all manner of miracles did they work among the children of men; and in nothing did they work miracles save it were in the name of Jesus.
Well, they don’t appear to be any different from Peter and Paul. It wasn’t just the apostles. Prophets worked miracles too.
For behold, Nephi was baptizing, and prophesying, and preaching, crying repentance unto the people, showing signs and wonders, working miracles among the people, that they might know that the Christ must shortly come—
3 Nephi 7:19-20
And in the name of Jesus did he cast out devils and unclean spirits; and even his brother did he raise from the dead, after he had been stoned and suffered death by the people. And the people saw it, and did witness of it, and were angry with him because of his power; and he did also do many more miracles, in the sight of the people, in the name of Jesus.
We know Elijah and Elisha raised people from the dead also. And even Steven and Philip from the New Testament got into the miracle act:
8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.
Acts 8:6, 13
And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did…Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
It’s interesting to note the effect these miracles have on the non-believers:
4 Nephi 1:29, 31
And again, there was another church which denied the Christ; and they did persecute the true church of Christ, because of their humility and their belief in Christ; and they did despise them because of the many miracles which were wrought among them…Nevertheless, and notwithstanding all these miracles, the people did harden their hearts, and did seek to kill them, even as the Jews at Jerusalem sought to kill Jesus, according to his word.
3 Nephi 7:20
And the people saw it, and did witness of it, and were angry with him because of his power; and he did also do many more miracles, in the sight of the people, in the name of Jesus.
Even though performing miracles brings persecution, Jesus commands his servants to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out devils. Performing healings and other miracles isn’t an option for these servants – it’s a commandment!
These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying…go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
The Lord repeated these same commandments through Joseph Smith.
D&C 84: 64-72
Therefore, as I said unto mine apostles I say unto you again, that every soul who believeth on your words, and is baptized by water for the remission of sins, shall receive the Holy Ghost. And these signs shall follow them that believe—In my name they shall do many wonderful works; In my name they shall cast out devils; In my name they shall heal the sick; In my name they shall open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf; And the tongue of the dumb shall speak; And if any man shall administer poison unto them it shall not hurt them; And the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them.
Let my servant William Law also receive the keys by which he may ask and receive blessings; let him be humble before me, and be without guile, and he shall receive of my Spirit, even the Comforter, which shall manifest unto him the truth of all things, and shall give him, in the very hour, what he shall say. And these signs shall follow him—he shall heal the sick, he shall cast out devils, and shall be delivered from those who would administer unto him deadly poison; And he shall be led in paths where the poisonous serpent cannot lay hold upon his heel, and he shall mount up in the imagination of his thoughts as upon eagles’ wings. And what if I will that he should raise the dead, let him not withhold his voice.
Now we have a conundrum. The commandment was issued, but we don’t have the same results as the ancient saints. We don’t have paraplegics leaping out of their wheelchairs and running around the temple immediately upon being touched by an apostle. Diabetics don’t throw away their insulin after attending General Conference. We don’t have people being raised from the dead. The only good news is that we don’t have people trying to kill us because of our many miracles. The scriptures tell us why this is, but it isn’t a pretty answer.
It is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.
2 Nephi 27:23
For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith.
2 Nephi 26:13
And that he manifesteth himself unto all those who believe in him, by the power of the Holy Ghost; yea, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, working mighty miracles, signs, and wonders, among the children of men according to their faith.
If we don’t have miracles, it’s because we don’t have true faith. We may have faith in a some correct principles mingled with some precepts of men, favorite false doctrines, and trust in the arm of flesh, but we can conclude we do not have true faith in the true God. If we did, we’d have the miracles the scriptures talk about. Because we don’t have the fruit, we know something is amiss. Before we look to blame certain individuals, we need to remember that it is our collective iniquity that causes this situation.
But wickedness did prevail upon the face of the whole land, insomuch that the Lord did take away his beloved disciples, and the work of miracles and of healing did cease because of the iniquity of the people.
For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.
3 Nephi 19:35
And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of praying he came again to the disciples, and said unto them: So great faith have I never seen among all the Jews; wherefore I could not show unto them so great miracles, because of their unbelief.
If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that we do not have the signs of them that believe. Individuals do have miraculous healings in their lives on occasion, and that is truly praiseworthy. But collectively the LDS do not appear to have them at any higher rate than other Christians. Nor do we have the miraculous healings at the hands of the apostles we have been promised. As a collective body, we don’t have the fruit. Therefore, as a collective body, we must not be doing what God says.
God has promised us miracles, literal miracles! But there are conditions.
For I am God, and mine arm is not shortened; and I will show miracles, signs, and wonders, unto all those who believe on my name. And whoso shall ask it in my name in faith, they shall cast out devils; they shall heal the sick; they shall cause the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak, and the lame to walk.
I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.
3 Nephi 8:1
…for he truly did many miracles in the name of Jesus; and there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity—
The Lord has promised us that if we have true faith, we will have these miracles. Because God cannot lie, and we do not have the results of the promise he has made, we must conclude that we are not asking in true faith. We are not doing what he has told us to do. We still have unresolved iniquity.
And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles. And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles. And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.
The first step is admitting we have a problem.