This post is part of a devotional series based on our 2019 Bible Reading Calendar.
Jesus faced requests, usually from the religious leaders who rejected him, for signs and proof that he was who he claimed to be. Sometimes today we live with the same attitude: God if you will only do/show/say this, then I will _________________.
Let’s not discount that God has worked through signs and wonders from time to time. He spoke to Moses from a burning bush, to Elijah in a gentle whisper, and to Peter in a vision. Yet, when it comes to the surety of what God has said and done, the proof is not ultimately in signs but in his word.
In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus told a parable of a rich man and a poor man named Lazarus. Both died. The rich man went to hell and Lazarus to paradise. Seeing Lazarus reclining against Abraham, the father of the Jews, he cried out for mercy. One of his requests was to send Lazarus from the dead to warn his five brothers to not follow his path.
But Abraham said, “They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.” “No, father Abraham,” the rich man said. “But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.” But Abraham told him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.”
Ultimately, Jesus prophesied against many of the Pharisees in his audience at the moment. They had God’s word, Moses and the prophets. They demanded signs. Jesus promised them they would see one–his own rising from the dead (Matthew 12:40). Yet, even after Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead, many still did not believe.
Ultimately, it is not signs that will convict us and turn our hearts to God. Rather, God’s word, the Bible, is living and active and cuts to the heart (Hebrews 4:12). The question is: When we encounter God’s word, will we receive it for what it is–the great sign that points us to Jesus and true life in him? Or: Will we reject it and keep looking for signs that still might not be believed even if they come?
Scripture quotations taken from the Christian Standard Bible.