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November 7th, 2020

09:56 am
Truly truly 27 -- Don't Rely on Signs

Don't Rely on Signs                                                                                                                                                                                                             11.06.2020

 

And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said,

“Why does this generation seek a sign?

Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation."

Mark 8:12

          Have you ever had one of those moments?  A moment when someone asks you an incredibly foolish, or worse, inappropriate question?  This is one of those moments for Jesus.  It really doesn't come across that way in the English translation, but in the original Greek -- reading very literally -- Jesus says, after a deep groan from his spirit, "if a sign will be given to this generation."  We can almost feel the disgust emanating from the Lord"Really, you ding-a-lings accuse me of doing miraculous things by the power of Satan and now you have the gall to demand a 'sign' from me to prove I'm from God?  Really?  This was the nonsense Satan tempted me with in the wilderness -- you know -- if you are the Son of God , turn these stones to bread -- if you are the Son of God, jump off the pinnacle of the Temple so the angels can catch you, like scripture says -- if you give us a sign, we will believe. You are not getting a sign from me!  Your demand for a sign makes you the demonic ones!"

           So it is -- Jesus is asked to "prove" who he is in a way acceptable to the religious authorities, but Jesus is not a puppet on a string, demonstrating his talents to win a popularity contest.  No, he is the Son of God with a mission to fulfill.  He will die a horrible death on a cross to take away the sins of the world.  People either believe it or they don't.  He has nothing to prove to the Scribes and Pharisees, or to me or you either.  We trust him on his terms and receive his gifts or we can remain in the dark, not seeing the truth being lived in front of us.

           Mark's gospel is consistently about believing preceding seeing.  This is contrary to every other function of human reason that insists we see and then we believe.  "I'm from Missouri," some will say.  "You have to show me for me to believe you."  So Missouri is the "show me state."  But over and over in scripture, believing precedes seeing and understanding.  Abraham was told to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac.  He went to do just that, believing God would provide some other way out.  And God did.

           Jesus consistently says no to the notion he has to prove his identity.  We believe or we do not.  When he is hung on the cross, the same old demands are made of him from the crowd gathered to watch, "You say you are the Son of God -- show us by coming down off that cross."  One of the thieves says (paraphrased),  "If you are the Son of God, prove it!  Save yourself and us -- get us out of this mess."  This thief receives no reply.  the other thief, in a statement of pure faith, simply requests, "Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom."  Jesus' reply to a simple faith like this is pure good news.  "Today you will be with me in paradise."

           In God's kingdom, faith precedes seeing.  We trust and believe his promises.  If we had to see and understand all things first, it is not faith but pure sight and experience that ultimately matters.  That is reserved for when we are made new in the coming kingdom of God.  This side of the end of times, we live in faith.  Jesus will have it no other way.

           Remember Whose you are --

           Pastor Lou