Saturday, January 21, 2012

“…..give me a sign…”

“Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”

 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign!  But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.  For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.  The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here.  The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.”    Matthew 12:38-42 NIV

In the Scripture above, Jesus contrasted two types of lives - one that merely observes a sign and one that participates in a miracle.  

Let’s read again what He said about asking for a sign, “A wicked and adulterous generation demands a sign.  But I tell you, no sign will be given it, except the Sign of Jonah.”

A sign is merely a substitute for something that points you back to the original.  But, there is another related word - “vicarious” meaning you live your life through substitutes.  The difference between a “Sign” and the “Sign of Jonah” boils down to one thing: whether you want to live vicariously through something that just points to something else or participate in the thing itself.

For years, communion was literally something you just watched.  I do not think that was what Jesus had intended when He said “I eagerly desire to take this meal with you,” or “This do in remembrance of me.”  

You know it’s really easy to be distracted by the sign.  It can be glitzy and fun.  But Jesus is making a point here about what His death means.  It means that Jesus can literally live inside of us and turns us towards repentance.  If we are focused on what the sign of communion means, it will transform us.

But here’s the problem with signs - ultimately you build a resistance to them.  You grow dead to them.  

If you just want some type of sign, you cheapen a thing.  You devalue it.  When you are content to just watch and not participate, you become dead to a thing.

Jesus was aware of the seductive danger of living only through observation.

When we come to God with our demands for a sign out of an insincere heart, it is not good – it’s sinful.

God does not bow to the demands of anyone.

There are people who want God to prove Himself to them, but on their terms.

God does not work that way.  We come to Him on His terms.

Here’s a question I have for those who think God needs to prove Himself:
Does God owe you anything?

He gave you the very breath you breathe, and you’re making demands of Him?

I have found that even if God would do something for them, people like this still would not be satisfied.

“Our life is lived by faith.  We do not live by what we see in front of us.”                   II Cor. 5:7 NLV

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