I only saw one miracle, I would believe. I would have so much faith. So why
can’t God work a miracle in my sight?” We will examine this, and a few other
some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, "Teacher, we want to see a
sign from You." But He answered and said to them, "An
evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given
to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for
just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER,
so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the
earth. "The men of Nineveh will stand up
with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented
at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. "The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and
will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom
of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.
(Mat 12:38-42 NASB)
you ever wondered why God gives you no control over the miraculous? Perhaps
the reason is this: you would not be able to avoid trying to please people,
gratify them and amaze them all at once, just by working your pet miracle.
Indeed, most of us would soon become a freak show. Like the illusionist of
modern times, we would dazzle people – but with what? A God who is a tame
lion, jumping through hoops at our command? Is the Lord of Hosts really so
much like a dog? When we treat Him like He was ours to command, His lack of
response is understandable.
me a parallel. There are women of my acquaintance who genuinely possess their
husbands. “My husband would do anything for me,” they say, and they can prove
it. Is that the kind of husband you would have, ladies? A flunky? Yet we
treat the Lord of Hosts with greater contempt than that. Do we seek him for
His love, or our vanity?
generation is quite similar to ours, in fact. Christ describes it as an
adulterous generation. For us, this is true physically as well as
spiritually. And like them, we are proud of it.
How often have you heard sentiments like, “I don’t want to be puritanical about
it…?” We are proud of our “enlightened” view of sex; we are also proud of our
“enlightened” view of the faith as well. Gone is the thunderous sermon on
heaven and hell; hell is now simply “a Christless eternity.” To the
non-Christian, just how terrifying does that sound?
is not the tame lion. He will produce His miracles in accord with His
purposes. It is not ours to command.
we may ask, “what is the use of a miracle?” If we could all levitate mountains
into the sea we would soon have scientists who studied “levitationology.” It
would cease to be a sign; just earthmoving by alternate methods. Moses showed
many signs to the Israelites; but it’s clear that their interest was held much
more by water in the desert than it was by the God who produced it.
would agree with Faust: a sound magician is a mighty god. But Faust was
wrong, for there is but one God. For those who deny this, there is only one
miracle given to them: the Resurrection.
greater the witness
now establishes the danger to those who ask for a miracle to prove that God is
with us. If the other fellow believed on lesser evidence, will you not be
condemned for your lack of faith?
the negative sense He cites Nineveh. Of all the prophets, Jonah was the
most recalcitrant and unwilling. He approached his task like most of us
would approach mucking out the stalls. Yet, despite that, and with no
miracle to prove anything, they repented. How much worse, then, for our
generation which commands God to either produce miracles or shut up?
the positive sense He cites the Queen of Sheba. She journeyed a great
distance (at a time when women just did not travel) at great expense to
hear Solomon’s wisdom. Again, there was no miracle in this either. But
if you will not accept the negative example, then the positive one should
move you. What have you done to seek the Lord?
is often comfort in the memory of past things; there is also warning.
Worthlessness of our own Reformation
"Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes
through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. "Then it
says, 'I will return to my house from which I came'; and when it comes, it
unoccupied, swept, and put in order. "Then
it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself,
and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse
than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil
(Mat 12:43-45 NASB)
note that this passage is also part of the response to the Pharisees demand for
a miracle. He is warning them of the results of their placement of God in
matter is relatively simple, actually. Despite what modern man thinks today,
Man is not his own god. As one writer put it, inside man there is a “God
shaped vacuum.” The Pharisees would have comfortable in our generation, for we
teach that man can overcome anything. God is simply a sideshow; a crutch for
those who will soon leave the gene pool. We believe that whatever our problems
are, we can defeat them without any help from anyone. As the folks from AA
would tell you, you’re in denial. If you don’t allow God to fill that vacuum –
completely – it will be filled. You cannot even fill it by making yourself
into your own god, nor even your own demon. But you can surely delude yourself
into thinking you can.
can’t beat somebody with nobody
an old saying in politics: you can’t beat a somebody with a nobody. If pride
rules your life, matters can only go from bad to worse. You can imagine
someone trying to clean up his own life, throwing out the problem and proudly
proclaiming it. You are defeating lust with pride; it’s like swapping a bad
cold for cancer. Lung cancer can cure pneumonia, you know.
me an example. One of my co-workers had a regular cycle of joy and despair.
First we would hear about her wonderful, life changing love – EST, country
western dancing; practically anything would do. Eventually it would let her down
– and she grew more bitter with each cycle. She was seeking that which she
could not recognize; it is no surprise that she could not find it.
is how it will be
the future tense. Things are going to get worse, for that generation and
ours. We, like they, are convinced that we can clean up our act solely by our
own effort. We, like they, are wrong.
He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were
standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. Someone said to Him, "Behold,
Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to
You." But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, "Who is My mother and who are My brothers?"
And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, "Behold My mother and My brothers! "For whoever does the will of My Father who is in
heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother."
(Mat 12:46-50 NASB)
comes to each of us at some time or another: someone in the family rants and
rails against the fact that you are a Christian. You have the choice: harmony
in your family OR the love for Christ. If you pick Christ, you will be called
an extremist, one who does not practice “moderation in all things.”
suffered this too. Despite who He is, the family obviously came by to remove
the boy from the public eye. They wanted Him to step outside and meekly go
home with them. But see what leverage they were attempting:
did this while He was still speaking.
did this in front of the crowd, making it publicly known that they did not
rebuke is thus all the more telling: just who are my family? Those who do the
will of God. It raises the point: what do we mean when we say, “the family of
who have known true fellowship in the family of God find it difficult to
describe. Indeed, it is sufficiently rare in this part of the world that its
witnesses seem indeed to be very few. They find it very difficult to explain
just what it means to be in the family of God.
the test is this: many of us have friends who have shared a good laugh with
us. But have they shared our sorrows? Have they cried together with us? One
of the family traits in God’s family is that we, like the Holy Spirit, come
along side those who ache.
care of the family
matter is relatively simple: put God first in all things. As Augustine said,
“Love God – and do as you please.” Want the example?
"But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels
with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. "All the
nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one
another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the
left. "Then the King will say to those on
His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom
prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was
thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I
was in prison, and you came to Me.' "Then
the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You,
or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 'And when did we
see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' "The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I
say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to
Me.' "Then He will also say to those on His
left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been
prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was
hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked,
and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.' "Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord,
when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in
prison, and did not take care of You?' "Then
He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it
to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the
righteous into eternal life."
(Mat 25:31-46 NASB)
Head of the Family will own you in your service to His children; He will disown
you in your stinginess.