The demand for a Miracle


             ‘Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, testing him.  But he sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign?  Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation”’ (Mark 8: 11 & 12.)


             Jesus had just finished feeding 4,000 people with only seven loaves of bread.  After this miracle, he and his disciples got into a boat and arrived at Dalmanutha, another town along the coast of the Sea of Galilee.  The crowds had been following him around from place to place, and as a result they had seen many miracles; these Pharisees demanded a miracle before they would follow him, and as a result they saw none of the amazing works of God.  Jesus loved even these men who were testing him; he sighed deeply, and I might add, remorsefully within himself before telling them they would not receive a sign.  (God loves even those who reject him, and it hurts God to know one of His children has chosen eternal separation from Him.)  They demanded a miracle in order to have faith; but God wanted them to have faith, and they would have seen so many miracles.   They wanted God to jump when they said ‘jump.’  However, God does not answer to man; nor does he serve or obey the desires of men.  Rather, those who truly love God will seek to obey and serve Him.  These men were under the influence of Satan, because Satan attempted to use this exact form of manipulation on Jesus while he was fasting in the desert:  The scripture reads, ‘Then the devil took him up into the Holy City, set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him,, “If you are the son of God, throw yourself down.  For it is written:  ‘He shall give his angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’  Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.”’  In other words, it is evil to demand that God prove anything.         

             I was speaking to an ex-pastor one day, and as we talked he became agitated and angry and he blurted out, (roughly) “If Jesus came here, right now, and appeared to me, I would believe in him.”  He even motioned to the ground right next to him as the spot where he wanted the Lord to stand.  The man wanted God to jump when he said ‘jump;’ he wanted God to appear where he wanted him to appear; he wanted God to do his will, instead seeking to do God’s will.  This was much like what I used to do as a child when I demanded something from my mother in the grocery store.  I would stomp my foot, shake my head, and throw a tantrum until I got what I wanted.  My mother would many times give in, and I would get what I wanted (in which case I became the parent and she became the child); but sometimes I would get disciplined instead (ouch.)  God never switches places with his children.  He never becomes the child, and his children never become God.   God does not bargain; He does not give in; and He certainly is not affected by manipulation or attempts at persuasion; He is in control, and those who come to know Him, realize their role as servants and not masters, children and not parents, followers and not leaders.

             Miracles don’t often bring us to a faith in God.  Those who experienced the miracles in the days of Jesus were those who began to follow him as he journeyed.  They experienced healings; they saw the dead raised; they saw Jesus walk on water; they saw things that only God himself could do, but never once did Jesus allow any who followed him to dictate when, where, and how he performed his miracles.  Today, many people are like the Pharisees.  They want a miracle to occur so they can know and believe that Jesus is who he says he is.  But, even today, the miracles are the result of following Jesus.  Those who open the bible and follow the teachings of the Lord have begun their journey with God.  The closer they follow, the greater the miracles often become.  They see things they never thought possible coming to pass right before their eyes.  Won’t you open the scriptures today and begin to follow him?  Won’t you make him a close companion as you travel through your day?  Will you gather up his words in your heart as a person of wealth gathers up gold and silver?  If you do, you will experience more miracles than you can count, and your life will be transformed by His Power.

             “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You today, and we ask that You allow us to follow You.  Give us the faith to make You and Your Son the center of our lives; be our leader Lord and guide and direct us, that we may follow You in this world, and do Your will here in this place, as it is done with You in Heaven.  Help us to be servants, and to be guided by Your Holy Spirit.  We Love You Lord, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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