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« Wrestling With God | Main | Worst Case Scenario »

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda 

“Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.”  Matthew 16:1-4. 

A mother, grieving the loss of her Marine son in Iraq, sat in Crawford Texas demanding an audience with President Bush.  Her vigil drew so many media types until it turned into a circus and provided newsprint and air time for thousands of news stories around the world.  Many sympathized with her; others criticized her methods.  Some think she did the right thing.  Others said she only made a spectacle of herself. 

The world is filled with complex problems like this mother’s, and everyone demands answers.  Nobody knows what to do.  What should we do?  What could we do if we would?  What would we do if we would do what we should?  How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Hey, you should see what pastors see.  They see those who have faith in God; they see others who resist all attempts to get them to believe.  Many others fill up the gap in between.  They don’t know.  They wait for something more.  They weigh out the options.  They look to see what their friends are going to do.  They think they would; or should; but, they don’t know if they could even if they should or would.  It’s all so confusing.  If Jesus would just come down and plainly spell it all out, it would be so much easier.  Yes.  It would be so much easier if God got out of the faith business.  It would be easier if he would just show a sign that he is real and his word is true. 

Two opposing religious parties united in one common effort to silence Jesus. They were waiting for Him when He returned to Galilee. The Pharisees were the conservatives of their day, while the Sadducees were the liberals.  (Acts 23:6–10).  They united to issue a challenge to Jesus: Show us a sign from heaven and we will believe you are the Christ.” The word translated sign means much more than simply a miracle or a demonstration of power. It means “a wonder by which one may recognize a person or confirm who he is.”  Jesus did miracles throughout his ministry, so his refusal had nothing to do with his power.  It had everything to do with the faith and motives of his audience. 

Miracles will give confirmation of faith, but not of willful unbelief.  I asked a man one time, “What would convince you that God can do miracles?”  He said, “Nothing.”  I said, “What if He would come down and do a miracle right now in front of your very eyes?  Would that convince you?”  He said, “No, because I don’t believe that it’s possible.  It would be a fake.  There would be a scientific explanation behind it.”

The Pharisees and Sadducees did not lack evidence; they lacked honesty and humility. Their demand for a sign revealed the condition of their hearts.  Jesus did not accuse them of being guilty of physical adultery, but of spiritual adultery (Isaiah 57; James 4:4). They were worshiping a false god of their own manufacture, and this was spiritual adultery. Had they been worshiping the true God, they would have recognized Jesus. 

Jesus has done everything he needs to do in order to convince the world of His reality. Yes, I could point out to you the miracles of the present.  Many have been healed of cancer, pain of every kind, heart conditions, and much more.  I could tell you of the thousands of answers to prayer; of deliverance from sin and bondage; of changed lives.  I could tell you of the tens of millions who have received the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

You need to stop vacillating in a state of uncertainty and doubt; you need to quit your “woulda, coulda, shoulda’s” and say, “Lord, I believe!” The operative question is not “do you have enough evidence to believe” but “will you believe the evidence you have?”

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