July 19, 2005
The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. 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." And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side.Short passage today, but one that has a lot of meaning for us today.
(Mark 8:11-13 ESV)
We all want a sign. We want proof. The Pharisees were no different -- they wanted to see some proof.
The problem was, they had all the proof that they needed right in front of them. Healings and miracles -- Jesus had done many, and the Pharisees had heard of them, or seen the results. The knew what Jesus could do, and yet they still wanted proof.
It would have been really easy for Jesus to give them that proof. With a snap of His fingers, He could have given them more proof than they could handle. But He didn't.
It's easy to get tangled up in proof. We like to prove the Bible is true. We like to prove that Christ rose from the dead. We want to prove our faith is valid and real. But now, just as in Christ's day, the proof should be apparant to anyone who interacts with us.
My proof of the ressurection needs to be my own life. If Christ lives, and He lives in me, then there should be a difference. If the Bible is true, and is more than just a book, then it should have an obvious impact on my life.
But what about the people who want more proof? Jesus knew that the Pharisees wouldn't believe, no matter how much proof they were presented with. Many who are demanding proof are just the same -- they don't want to believe, so they try to rationalize their unbelief. They won't accept proof, because to them there can be none. Without the moving of the Holy Spirit in their life, they will not recognize the truth of the gospel.
So what do we do? We have a responsibility to show that Christianity is a rational faith, but we also have to be aware that it is only through the working of the Holy Spirit that people come to Christ. We need to be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, to those who ask. We resond to those who are honestly seeking Christ. THAT'S the tricky part.
We can't know who is sincere and who isn't. We need to respond the same to everyone, but NOT relying on our proofs to convince them of the truth of the gospel. We rely on the Holy Spirit to convict them, and draw them to the Father.
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