What is the Greatest Miracle in the Bible?

Question
What is the Greatest Miracle in the Bible?
Answer
Essentially, a miracle is by definition something that someone can't explain naturally. While God can make use of natural means he is "yet free to work without, above, and against them, at his pleasure" (WCF 5.2). This can be described as "extraordinary providence." Louis Berkhof defines miracles as his extraordinary providence in which God "works immediately or without the mediation of second causes in their ordinary operation." According to Berkhof, this providence would include events in which God might use the forces of nature "in a way that was out of the ordinary to produce unexpected results." [1[

There are many miracles categorized for us in the Bible; in the Old Testament (Exod 7:10-12, 20-25; 8:5-14,16-18, 20-24; 10:3-6; 9:11, 23; 10:12-19, 21-23; 12:29, 30; 14:21-31; 15:23-25; 16:14-35; 17:5-7; Lev 10:1, 2; 11:1-3; 16:31-35; Num 17:1; 20:7-11; 21:8, 9; 22:21-35; Jos 3:14-17; 6:6-20; 10:12-14; Judg 15:19; 1 Sam 5:1-12; 6:19; 7:10-12; 12:18; 2 Sam 5:23-25; 6:7; 1 Kings 13:4, 5; 17:14-16; 17:17-24; 18:30-38, 41-45; 2 Kings 1:10-12; 2:7, 8, 14, 21, 22; 3:16-20; 4:2-7, 32-37, 38-41, 42-44; 5:10-14, 20-27; 6:5-7, 18-20; 13:21; 19:35; 20:9-11; 2 Chron 26:16-21; Dan 3:19-27; Dan 6:16-23; Jon 2:1-10, etc.) and the New Testament (Matt 8:1-3; 5-13, 14-15, 16, 23-27, 28-32; 9:1-8, 18-19, 20-22, 27-31, 32-33; 12:9-14; 14:16-21, 22-33, 34-36; 15:21-28, 29-39; 17:14-21, 24-27; 21:18-22; Mark 1:21-28; 7:31-37; 8:22-26; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 5:3-10; 7:11-17; 11:14; 13:10-13; 14:1-6; 17:11-19; 22:45-54; John 2:1-11; 4:46-54; 5;5-17; 9:1-41; 11:1-44; 21:4-11, etc.). "Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written" (John 21:25). As one may plainly see the Bible is a book of miracles.

Despite all the mighty signs mentioned above, the greatest miracle in all of history is that God became flesh (John 1:14), lived (1 John 1:2), was murdered (John 19:16-27), died (John 19:28-37), was buried (John 19:38-42), resurrected (John 20:1-10), and then ascended to the right hand of God the Father (Acts 1:9-11). This is the greatest of miracles. But why did God do this? What kind of love is this; that God gave his sinless Son to die for his totally imperfect sinful people (Rom 5:8)? Because he loves his people (John 3:16).

I would be remiss here not to speak of some other miracles mentioned in the Bible. They all have to do with "birth." The Bible speaks of three miraculous births; the birth of a sinner (Job 14:1-5), the birth of the Savior (Gal 4:4-5), and the birth of a saint (John 1:10-13). Every "natural birth" is in its own way a miracle. The complexity of the human body and soul is a testimony to God our Creator. Think of the exact timing of all the God ordained processes that must come together at just the right time for a little baby to be born into this world. Yet because of the Fall of man it is deficient. Being born only of a natural birth means being born a sinner (Psa 51:5; Rom 3:10-18). Sinners die (Rom 6:23).

The second type of birth that is a miracle is the "virgin birth." Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. But, why did the Second Person of the Trinity come to earth? Why was his life, Cross, death, grave, tomb, and the resurrection, all necessary? Because the first birth was deficient. The virgin birth of the God-man was efficient; God in the flesh! However, ultimately Christ was born to die and rise again. Why? Christ gave his life for the elect - and them only (2 Thess 2:13). Not a single drop of his precious blood was ever wasted; rather it accomplished what it was meant to do. Christ died upon the Cross not simply to make salvation a possibility, but to actually save those he died for. He actually died to save them, not merely to make them savable. Christ literally became incarnate to save his people from their sins (Matt 1:21). The Bible explicitly teaches that Christ would see his sacrifice and be satisfied knowing that it would actually save his people (Isa 53:11). "Christ did not win a hypothetical salvation for hypothetical believers, a mere possibility of salvation for any who might possibly believe, but a real salvation for his own chosen people." [2] See Isaiah 53:8, 12; John 6:37-40; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 1:4; Colossians 2:13-14; Revelation 5:9. "It is finished" (John 19:30).

The last type of birth spoken of in Scripture is the "new birth" (John 3:1-8); that is when the Holy Spirit takes up residence in the heart of a believer, when they are "changed from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to the power of God" (Acts 26:18). For the believer in Christ, this means a new start, a new Father, a new family, and a new life; a true life. Only those that believe will be saved (John 3:36) and every soul that comes into the Kingdom of God (Tit 3:4-6) is every bit as much of a miracle as the dividing of the Red Sea in Moses' time. "You must be born again" (John 3:7). See "A Gospel Summary" below.

Have you been born again?

References:

[1] Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), p. 176.
[2] J. I. Packer's Introduction to The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, by John Owen.

Related Topics:

A Gospel Summary

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).