November 19, 2015

Evidence of God

2 Kings 4:18–5:27, Mark 14:51–15:15, Proverbs 6:12–19, Luke 7:16, Mark 14:61–64, Mark 14:71, Mark 15:2

Miracles are sometimes defined as God breaking His own rules. He goes beyond normal to show His presence and His power. He did so in the OT with miracles done by His prophets. These miracles were often repeated by God in the person of Jesus Christ.

For instance, the son of a couple who welcomed Elisha into their home suddenly died. Elisha came into the house, “went in and shut the door behind the two of them and prayed to the Lord. Then he went up and lay on the child, putting his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands. And as he stretched himself upon him, the flesh of the child became warm.” (2 Kings 4:32–34)

Jesus restored to life the son of a widow (Luke 7:12-17) Some of the onlookers made the connection and said, “A great prophet has arisen among us! . . . God has visited his people!” (Luke 7:16)

Elisha also multiplied insufficient food to feed a multitude. He said, “Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left.’ ” So he set it before them. And they ate and had some left, according to the word of the Lord.” (2 Kings 4:42–44) Two instances in the NT describe Jesus feeding thousands with a few loaves and fishes, and the disciples gathered up basketfuls of leftovers.

Elisha also healed a leper called Naaman who was the army captain of Syria. (2 Kings 5:1-15) Jesus did this several times, yet the religious leaders made no connection between what He was doing and what God’s prophets did in their OT history. How did they miss it?

One possibility is in Solomon’s description of those who miss seeing what God is doing because of sin in their lives. He calls them worthless, wicked, and deceitful trouble-makers. He adds six characteristics that God hates: “haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” (Proverbs 6:12–19)

Some of these qualities were (and still are) displayed by the enemies of Jesus Christ. Solomon called all six of them abominations to God.

In the NT, the religious leaders arrested Jesus and asked questions like, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” They didn’t get it even though Jesus told them, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Instead, they called His answers and claims blasphemy and condemned Him. (Mark 14:61–64) Would they have done the same to the prophets? Why weren’t they enraged at the miracles of Elijah and Elisha?

Peter knew who Jesus was and called Him “the Son of the Living God” but in the end denied it saying, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” (Mark 14:71) Pilot, a Roman, asked Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” (Mark 15:2) He might have believed His answer, or at least was willing to call Him the King of the Jews and release Him, but in fear of the Jews, he denied the clear evidence also, then he put Jesus to death.

This impresses me with at least two things. One is the OT continually points to Jesus, whether people see it or not. The second is that miracles might amaze people, but they will not necessarily convince anyone of the power and presence of God.

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