And these signs shall follow them that believe.…
— Mark 16:17
Moments before Jesus ascended to the Father, He told the disciples, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:17,18).
According to Jesus, these supernatural signs are supposed to follow those who believe. Since you and I believe, that means these signs are supposed to follow you and me! So let’s look carefully at this supernatural list to see precisely what Jesus said to us.
First of all, the word “signs” comes from the Greek word semeion, which described the official written notice that announced the final verdict of a court. It also described the signature or seal applied to a document to guarantee its authenticity and a sign that marked key locations in a city.
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Jesus was sending His disciples into the world to preach the Gospel. As He sent them forth, He said that God’s signature would be upon their ministry. These “signs” were to be the signature of God — the official declaration that they were sent by Heaven and that the Gospel message was true. For unbelievers, these “signs” would authenticate the fact that this was no manmade message, but a message straight from God Himself. And just as street signs point a traveler in the right direction, these signs would point the unbeliever to the Lord if he would only pay heed to them.
The specific signs that Jesus mentioned are as follows:
- They will cast out devils.
- They will speak with new tongues.
- They will take up serpents.
- If they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them.
- They will lay hands on the sick, and the sick will recover.
The Lord said that these signs would “follow” those who believe. The word “follow” is the Greek word parakoloutheo, from the words para and akoloutheo. The word para means alongside, as to be near or in a close proximity. The word akoloutheo means to follow or to go somewhere with a person, as to accompany him on a trip. When the word para and akoloutheo are joined to form one word as in this verse, it means to tirelessly accompany someone; to constantly be at the side of an individual; to always be in close proximity with a person, like a faithful companion who is always at one’s side.
Because the word parakoloutheo has such a strong sense of following someone, it eventually came to convey the idea of discipleship. A true disciple faithfully follows his teacher anywhere he goes and is committed to his teacher’s instruction.
This picture of commitment to another person — of someone’s faithfulness to follow and his determination to never be out of step with his leader — is very significant in the context of this verse. It tells us that signs and wonders are to faithfully follow us and the Gospel message. These signs and wonders are continually to be in step with us and with the message we preach. To preach without these miraculous signs should seem very strange to us, for God intended these signs to persistently follow us and the message anywhere and everywhere we go.
These signs are God’s signature that the message is true. Hence, every time the Gospel is preached — whether at church, on the mission field, in a large crusade, in the bus or subway, at your job, or at the grocery store — you should expect these supernatural signs to be present in some form. These signs should accompany you everywhere you go because they are a part of your spiritual equipment, faithful partners of the Gospel message!
But if this is true, why don’t we see more of these signs following Christians? The answer to this question is found in Jesus’ words in Mark 16:17. He said, “And these signs shall follow them that believe.…”
I want to draw your attention to the word “believe.” Because of the tense used with this Greek word, this verse would be better translated, “These signs shall follow them that are constantly believing.…” In other words, these signs don’t come automatically just because a person once walked the aisle and gave his heart to Jesus. These signs follow those who are constantly believing for them to occur. If a Christian isn’t believing for these signs to be manifested or expecting them to follow him, they probably won’t. Like everything else in the Kingdom of God, signs and wonders are activated by faith.
Through the years of my ministry, I have observed that people who regularly experience the miraculous are those who regularly expect to see it. Rather than being passive, they are very aggressive about pushing forward in the Spirit to see the miraculous manifested in their lives or ministries. Those who press forward and release their faith to see the supernatural are the ones who see more of it than anyone else. Because they are believing for signs and wonders, they often see them manifested in their lives.
The number of signs and wonders that follow you will be determined by how intensely you are constantly believing for them to be in manifestation. As noted above, everything in the Kingdom of God is activated by faith. If you’re not releasing faith for the miraculous to occur, very little of the miraculous will be in manifestation in your life. If you want signs and wonders to faithfully follow you, you must be constantly believing for them to happen!
So when you preach and share the Gospel, expect things to happen!
- When you pray for the sick, expect them to be healed.
- When you confront someone who is demonized, expect that person to be set free.
- When you are in a situation that requires the miraculous, expect the miraculous to occur.
- When you need protection, expect God’s hand of protection to be upon you.
If you haven’t been experiencing the supernatural in your life, it may be a signal that you haven’t been releasing your faith to see signs and wonders follow you. Remember, these signs always follow wherever the Gospel is preached and believers are believing for them to occur. This was Jesus’ promise! He guaranteed that God’s supernatural signature would be on anyone who preaches the Gospel and who opens the way for the supernatural to come to pass by believing.
Today I want to encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to rekindle the flame in your heart to see the supernatural signature of God on your life, your church, or your ministry. God wants to show up when you preach or share the Gospel. He wants to authenticate and guarantee that the message you preach or share is truly Heaven-sent. But for the miraculous to occur, He needs you to be constantly releasing your faith — for it is your faith that activates the supernatural!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I prayerfully admit that I haven’t been expecting signs and wonders to follow me as I ought to be expecting them. From this moment onward, I release my faith for the miraculous to follow me when I preach or share the Gospel with unbelievers. Holy Spirit, let the power of God flow and confirm the message! Let God’s signature be all over the Gospel that I preach. Because I am constantly releasing my faith for the miraculous to follow me wherever I go, I expect to see people healed, blind eyes opened, and captives set free by the power of God!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that signs and wonders follow me! I am intensely hungry to see the miraculous, and I am constantly believing for it to be in manifestation. Since everything in the Kingdom of God is activated by faith, I release my faith right now for supernatural signs to be manifested in my life! I am among those who are constantly believing for the miraculous to happen. When I preach the Gospel, I expect signs and wonders to follow that authenticate the message and supernaturally meet the needs of those who are listening to me!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Can you think of a time when you were sharing the Gospel and something supernatural happened, such as someone getting healed or God miraculously intervening in a situation to let an unbeliever know that God was speaking specifically to him?
2. Are you hungry for the supernatural, or have you been passive about seeing signs and wonders manifested in your life? How long has it been since you’ve earnestly prayed for signs and wonders to be a part of your life?
3. Do you have a desire to see the miraculous manifested in your life? If that desire has become dormant, why don’t you take a little time today to ask the Holy Spirit to rekindle this desire in your heart?