But when the Pharisees came to Jesus asking for signs to prove that he truly was the Messiah, Jesus did not make mention of the many miracles he had performed. He told the Pharisees that there would be no sign for them save one: the sign of Jonah. The many miracles that Jesus worked truly were wonders, but there was only one sign that would prove he truly was the Messiah. As Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the fish, so would Jesus spend three days and three nights in the belly of the Earth before the final victory over both sin and death in the Resurrection.
The fact that Jesus performed many signs and wonders during his walk upon this terrestrial ball are for most Christians not a matter of argument. Although many modern scholars have challenged the idea that these miracles occurred and some more liberal streams of Christianity have thought to provide more modern interpretations for these signs of Jesus, most Christians believe firmly that Jesus was able to and did perform many miracles during his ministry.
It is altogether a different thing when one discusses Christian signs that come after the Resurrection. Among the Christian signs that Jesus said would follow his disciples were the casting out of demons, the speaking of tongues, the healing of the sick, the handling of snakes and the drinking of poison without harm. These sorts of signs and wonders have brought a much larger debate in the Christian community.
While many charismatic, Pentecostal and born-again denominations practice the speaking in tongues, this is very rare among other denominations. Faith healers are still a common sight, although often looked down upon. Casting out of demons is still practiced by some and is still a part of Catholic tradition, but is also a fairly rare occurrence. Even more rare is the handling of snakes and the drinking of poison. Those few denominations that practice these acts are exceedingly controversial. Some have even wondered whether these groups ought to be outlawed.
Yet we know from the words of the Lord Jesus that Christian signs would follow believers. He even gave specific examples of the forms these signs would take. Some have taken a look at these verses as something that are more metaphor than something to be taken literally. Christian signs have a far deeper meaning than mere parlor tricks, it is part of a deep and committed life in Christ. For many the true miracles of the Christian faith are in its power to transform individuals. Turn alcoholics and drug addicts into upstanding members of the community. Take the poor and the downhearted and turn their life around.
Signs and wonders occur every day for believers in Christ. While they might not take on the forms that some might expect, the fact is that God is always at work in our world, and the miracles of the Lord do follow his believers. Even if we do not handle snakes or drink poison without harm, the truth and reality of the signs and wonders that follow his believers’ lives on.