Wednesday, December 06, 2017

It is not always easy to believe, particularly in things that you have not seen but only heard about. It is even much easier to witness a miracle and dismiss it as having been stage-managed, after it unfolded before your very eyes. Where does that leave us?  A case in point, Jesus healed the sick and the religious authorities of His day accused Him of using the power of Beelzebub to do so. “Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. But some of them said, ‘By Beelzebub, the prince of demons, He is driving out demons.’ ” (Luke 11:14-16)

They could not believe God could raise the dead, set the captives free, give sight to the blind and make the lame walk. As teachers of the infallible word of God, if they did not believe who else would? O, they were just a bunch of hypocrites, misleading the flock they had been called to shepherd.

As if that was not enough, they went on to challenge Jesus’ identity that He was the Messiah, the Son of David, come in the flesh as a gift from heaven; come to take upon Himself the sins of the world. They were asking for additional proof to what was already evident. They said to Jesus: “Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.” On multiple occasions, they had tested Jesus and failed to the extent of being ridiculed. This time around, they wanted Him “to show them a sign from heaven.” (Matthew 16:1) “He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given to you.”  (Matthew 16:2-4)

It is incomprehensible that this request was made soon after Jesus had performed a miracle feeding four thousand people and ‘the people had eaten and were satisfied.’ It is clear that the Pharisees had come to provoke Him with that kind of question. Jesus told them categorically to the face “Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given it.” (Mark 8:12) One more sign after all the signs registered previously, will not make any difference.

In another instance, Jesus upset the tables of the merchants He found selling in the temple. “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!” (John 2:16) There the Jews asked Him to give proof of His authority again through a miraculous sign for doing such things. Jesus responded: “Destroy this temple and, I will raise it up in three days.” (John 2:19) They could not understand Him because they took what He said literally. Therefore they reacted: “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” (verse 20) But the temple He was speaking of was His body; that He would die and resurrect in three days. 

What does the Lord mean by the sign of Jonah? Jonah was an Old Testament prophet sent to the city of Nineveh to tell them of the impending doom hovering over their heads if they did not repent of their sins and depart from their wicked ways. The prophet refused to go. Instead, he boarded a ship and headed in the opposite direction. The boat was caught in a storm and Jonah had to be thrown overboard when it was found out that he was the cause. ‘The Lord provided a great fish to swallow’ him and he was vomited after staying in its belly for three days. By referring to this account Jesus was drawing a parallel between His death and resurrection. He had power to lay His life down and take it back after three days.

Miracles abound in Jesus’ ministry---from start to finish---to establish beyond any doubt that He was who He claimed to be. Where the Jews openly rejected Him, the Gentiles on the other hand believed. After the Ninevites heard God’s message from the mouth of his prophet Jonah, they repented of their sins and God did not punish them.

Probably you are among those who are still waiting for more signs and wonders to believe in Jesus, the Only Begotten Son of God, who came to save humankind from the sequels of sin. If that is the case, then you must spend time reading the Bible. It is all about Jesus and His wondrous works meant for our edification. It is important to know that He has done just as it was promised. There cannot be a sign other than His death and resurrection. So do not think that You are alone in this. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29) 

To believe in Jesus Christ we must believe in His word because we cannot separate Him from His word, they are indissolubly linked. He Himself declared, “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” (John 6:63b) Isaiah the prophet wrote concerning God’s word: “... so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)  

Author: Galandou Gorre-Ndiaye