What Exactly is a Biblical Miracle? 3 Key Things Your Kids Should Understand

By Natasha Crain

A few weeks ago in our family worship time, we were studying the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 (Matthew 14). After we finished the story, I asked what I thought was a pretty straight forward question: “So, how did Jesus feed 5,000 people with just a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish?”

Kenna responded, “He must have cut the bread and fish into little tiny pieces to feed that many people!”

It was such a simple and logical answer, but it said so much about her young understanding of miracles. A million coloring pages of Jesus walking on water (which I’m pretty sure is the count coming home from Sunday school in the last couple of years) won’t teach our kids some basic concepts central to the understanding of biblical miracles.

Here are three key things our kids need to understand about the nature and purpose of miracles in the Bible.

 

1.    Miracles are supernatural.

One of the most common pejorative statements I see atheists make is that Christians believe someone can walk on water, a dead man can come back to life, animals can talk, and so on. The underlying assumption is that Christians foolishly believe these things are possible within the bounds of our natural world and its laws, when clearly we should see that they aren’t.

This is not a correct understanding of biblical miracles. Christians do NOT believe that miracles are naturally possible, just as atheists do not. We agree! The point of difference is that Christians believe miracles are possible on a supernatural level, and atheists don’t believe a supernatural level even exists.

I realize this distinction sounds a little theoretical, but it’s very important and actually quite simple to explain to kids in a practical sense. I told my kids (age 4) that if Jesus merely chopped the bread into 5,000 pieces, that would be something anyone can do, because that is how our world works (when you chop many times, it makes many pieces). What Jesus did was a miracle because it was something that can’t be explained by how we know our world works; food doesn’t suddenly appear out of nowhere! Jesus could do miracles because He had the power of God, and anything is possible for God. God is not limited by how our world works.

 

2.    Miracles proved who Jesus was.

This is the million dollar point that I don’t think I really understood the significance of until a couple of years ago when I started reading apologetics.

Jesus needed to do something while He was on earth to provide evidence (yes, evidence!) that He truly was the son of God. Think about it – He was making bold claims of divinity; how could people know that what He said was true?

Jesus didn’t just tell people to have “faith” that what He was saying was true. He usedmiracles – acts not possible by someone without God’s power – to prove it. Jesus understood the need for evidence to legitimize His claims. The resurrection was the ultimate miracle that proved to His followers that He was who He said He was.

To demonstrate this to my kids, I put on a mini-act where I told them I was God. I claimed that I wanted them to eat cookies every day because it’s good for them and that they needed to listen because I was God. They laughed and said they didn’t believe me because I’m not God! I told them over and over that I’m God. After a while, we talked about what it would have been like for Jesus’ friends to hear Him say He was the son of God. They had to have a way of knowing He wasn’t just a regular person saying that (like mommy was in the cookie example). Jesus did things only God could do to prove He reallywas God.

 

3.    Miracles are still historical events.

The disciple Thomas did not believe that the other disciples had seen a resurrected Jesus. He said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).

When the resurrected Jesus appeared to Thomas, Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus replied, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

This is an incredibly rich passage for Christians. Even though miracles are outside of our scientific understanding and laws, they are observable by witnesses and have natural/historical outcomes. The apostles historically observed the miracle of the resurrection, which led to a conviction so strong that they were willing to die for their beliefs. Their willingness to die was undoubtedly based in large part on their knowledge that they had witnessed the resurrection miracle.

We demonstrated this to our kids by talking about how difficult life was for the apostles after Jesus died. The miracles He did were so amazing that the apostles had no doubt that Jesus was God and they were willing to do whatever it took – endure beatings, jail and death – to tell the whole world about Him. Today we know about Jesus in large part because of what the apostles did after witnessing His miracles!

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts – what else should kids know about miracles?

For more articles like What Exactly is a Biblical Miracle? 3 Key Things Your Kids Should Understand visit Natasha’s website at ChristianMomThoughts.com

What Exactly is a Biblical Miracle? 3 Key Things Your Kids Should Understand

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2 replies
  1. Jeff Weddle says:

    I think another key factor is the rarity of miracles. Yes, there were times when miracles were often, but the Bible covers several thousand years of history and the miracles per year average has to be pretty low! I think many kids believe miracles are normative and happening all the time. They are rare and usually surround a significant event in revealing truth.

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  2. Brian says:

    Very nice insight on historical miracles. I really liked your analogies and will definitely use them in the future. I want to share a situation I’m currently undergoing now and would like your input. I still believe in supernatural miracles today but however I’ve never seen a man in my time or heard of stories besides Christ Himself who walked on water, or never seen a man’s hand grow back or water turned into wine but I wouldn’t put a limit on the divine works of God today. I know those days were the apostolic age but believe miracles still occur.

    My coworker and I have been corresponding a healthy rebuttal on miracles for sometime. I want go into much detail because of time and space. He wants me to bring a man or he said he would buy a plane ticket to wherever to see a (man) heal someone by the working of miracles or the gift of healing. He wants a sign. Now this conversation has branched out into many different areas such as man drinking strong drink, casting out of demons, laying hands on the sick, speaking in a new tongue. The bad part is my friend’s a Christian and don’t believe in all the benefits that comes with Salvation or Jesus. He says that was on that side of the cross and now there is no man who can do the works of the twelve plus Paul on this side of the cross. Point being I’ll sum it up, he thinks man can no longer possess the gifts. My reply to him was Jesus is the same today, yesterday and forever and I guess salvation isn’t for us either right? His view to me is a water down gospel. How would you approach someone like this. Although I have used several scripture referring to the 70, the one who was casting out demons in Jesus name but not with the twelve.

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