Signs and wonders. They certainly have been a subject of controversy over recent years.
On the one hand there are those who vehemently reject the notion that signs and wonders have any place in today’s church. They seem to believe God doesn’t reveal Himself with signs and wonders today because we are so much more sophisticated and wiser than the people of Bible times. The very idea of a supernatural God offends their intellectual pride. We now have seminaries, commentaries and great theological minds to explain God to us so signs and wonders are obsolete.
On the other hand there are those who zealously pursue signs and wonders. They seem to believe any supernatural occurrence is better than none, even if it doesn’t align with the character and words of Christ. So hungry are they to experience signs and wonders first hand they gather eagerly around any ministry leader appearing to produce such events with little or no trace of any spiritual wisdom or discernment.
Neither camp realizes that both these extremes are simply different manifestations of the one carnal spirit: religion. Yes, I did say both. The religious spirit in man is not always about austerity, legalism and hard heartedness. It can just as easily be found among those who seek experiences over seeking Christ and value spiritual gifts over spiritual fruit.
“Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom” wrote Paul to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 1:22). The Greek mindset was to elevate intellectualism and disdain anything that could not be understood through natural human wisdom. The Jewish mindset was that God must first prove Himself God by signs and wonders. The Pharisees and religious leaders of Jesus’ day demonstrated both viewpoints, sometimes questioning Jesus’ lack of religious instruction and at other times demanding He perform signs and wonders (Jn. 7:15-17; Jn. 6:30). Both these attitudes are rooted in carnality, both are the religion of the flesh rather than the Spirit of God, and both are still very much active within modern Christianity.
(For the record I am not at all anti ‘revival’ or the manifestations that sometimes accompany a visitation of the Holy Spirit, as long as Christ is kept central and signs, wonders and manifestations do not become the main event.)
So zealous for signs and wonders were the Jewish leaders they could not recognize the greatest sign and the greatest wonder when He stood among them. Jesus came as a sign to His generation and to ours (Luke 2:24). A sign points the way or announces something. He came pointing the way back to the Father and announcing the coming of the Kingdom.
Jesus came as a wonder. A wonder is a mystery, something that cannot be understood or explained by natural human thought. Over and again it was said of Jesus “Who is this?” or “By what authority do you do what you do?” (Matt. 21:10; Mar. 4:41; Luke 5:21; Luke 9:9; Luke 20:20;Jn. 12:34). Humanity, including the religious leaders of the day, simply could not wrap their minds around Him or rationally explain Him. He was a phenomenon like no other that has appeared on earth before or since.
Likewise the Bride of Christ must grow up into the understanding that she, herself, is the greatest of God’s present signs and wonders. She points the way to Christ, she is a mystery upon the face of the earth.
“Here am I and the children whom the Lord has given me. We are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of Hosts who dwells in Mount Zion” cried the prophet Isaiah (Is. 8:18). Isaiah knew a little bit about being a sign and a wonder. He was required by God to walk naked and barefoot for three years as a prophetic sign of God’s judgment against Egypt.
I’m not in any way suggesting followers of Christ need to discard their clothing and go barefoot. But the Bride of Christ is a prophetic company. And, as all you aspiring prophets out there will be painfully learning, being prophetic and being a sign and a wonder go hand in hand. A prophet points the way and announces something.
The Bride is naked in the sense that she is being made into one who walks the earth transparent in motive and character. She is barefoot in the sense that she is casting off all man-made religious works to run unhindered heralding the gospel of the Kingdom.
Jesus came as the sign to the world of another Kingdom….a Kingdom where ‘zoe’ life, the supernatural life-essence of God, is the life source, where sacrificial love has replaced legalism, where death cannot enter. The current emergence of His Bride on the earth bears witness to the Kingdom He first proclaimed, and announces the imminent return of the King and His Kingdom to rule and reign on the earth.
This called, chosen and faithful Bridal company, are for signs and wonders. It is not for us to concern ourselves with pursuing signs and wonders as if they are something strange and alien to us. We are the sign, we are the wonder, and as such, supernatural life will flow naturally from our midst.
A day is also at hand when many current methods of spiritual warfare will pass away. Jesus didn’t need to focus on engaging principalities and powers. He was Light and wherever He walked the darkness scattered and could not remain (Jn. 1:5). Even so, spiritual darkness must scatter and make way before the Light manifesting through the Bride of Christ as she walks this world.
We are for signs and wonders on the earth from the Lord of Hosts who dwells in Mount Zion. Heaven watches, powers of darkness worry, and the world will soon wonder as the Bride of Christ comes forth by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Do you hear what the Spirit is saying? We, you and I, are for signs, we are for wonders! And though signs and wonders will flow freely forth from this emerging bridal company, they shall fade in comparison to the great sign and wonder that is the Bride herself. If we can receive it, this, with suffering, is our appointed destiny.
© Cheryl McGrath, Bread for the Bride, 2013 Copyright Notice: Permission is granted to freely reproduce any Bread for the Bride articles in emails or internet blogs, unaltered, and providing this copyright notice is included. To permanently display an article on any static website please contact me for permission.