Its not that often that I hear an evangelical preacher choose one of the miracle stories from the gospels or Acts as a sermon text. The epistles (or if we must go into the gospels, the parables) are generally thought much more useful for basing expository thoughts on. But where I have heard them, they fall into one of two general stereotypes (depending on whether you are at a charismatic or noncharismatic church):
The Charismatic Miracle Sermon
1. This miracle happened and so did loads of other ones
2. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever so God still wants to do loads of miracles
3. Jesus said “you will do greater things than I have doing” which means we ought to be performing even more impressive miracles than raising the dead
4. Altar Call – Come forward if you are ill to get prayer for healing.
The Noncharismatic Miracle Sermon
1. This miracle happened to prove that Jesus is God
2. We’re not God so we can’t do miracles ourselves
3. The apostles were a special case because the Bible wasn’t written yet
4. Altar Call – Come forward to become a Christian
Better Miracle Sermons?
Having spent the last two years studying Mark, and also a year of studying Acts, I’m convinced that we can do better than this. The miracle stories are a small piece of a larger story, and the context they are in both illuminates and is illuminated by the particular passage being studied. So here’s a challenge to any of you who are planning to preach on a miracle – surprise us with something different.