I was reading Psalm 114 this morning and a brief account of the amazing things God did to redeem his people from Israel. I started thinking about how mind-blowing it would have been to witness the parting of the Red Sea or the Nile turned to blood, the walls of Jericho spontaneously collapsing or the earth opening up and swallowing people.
And then you get to the New Testament and Jesus makes blind people see, heals incurable diseases, turns water into wine, raises the dead. Once again, to imagine actually being there, actually witnessing such momentous, unheard-of, jaw-dropping events. It's just about beyond imagination.
Two things then came to mind: First, I remembered that several years ago in a sermon about the Lord's Supper, Pastor Alfred asked if we would rather be Moses and the elders who got to see the feet of God, or ourselves, who get to have intimate communion with him. Even though we're in an era where we have to walk by faith and not by sight, we have surpassed the greatest prophet of the Old Testament in our knowledge of and relationship with God. We have surpassed many who witnessed Jesus' miracles because Christ has sent his Spirit into our hearts, sealing us to himself and transforming us into his image. We have, indeed, seen "greater things than these."
Secondly, I thought of the manifold verses in Scripture where all of these signs and wonders did nothing to augment the faith of the witnesses. River turns to blood, it rains frogs, and firstborn die? Pharoah hardens his heart. God delivers his people through the Red Sea and miraculously feeds them daily? They grumble and wish they were back in Egypt. Thunder and lightening like never before at the top of the mountain? They build an idol at the mountain's base. Jericho falls into their hands? They disobey God with respect to the plunder. Jesus casts out demons and does other miracles? They say that he must be Satan. Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead and promises that he himself will rise? "They will not be convinced, even if someone rises from the dead."
I guess those signs and wonders must have been pretty amazing. But I have a lot of things in my own life that I can marvel at, especially when I fix my eyes, by faith, above, where I am seated with Christ in the heavenly places. I serve a God whose good plans exceed anything I can ask or imagine. Above all we should all anticipate the wonder of the new heavens and the new earth, which will eradicate any effects of sin in our lives.
As our Lord told Thomas (and the Thomas in us all), "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
"O, ye of little faith." "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief."
WEll said, Molly. Now I think you need to get yourself internet access so you can post more regularly ;-)
Thanks, Molly. I have always been struck by Jesus' words in John 16: "It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you."
It is counterintuitive - Many times I think it would be better for me to be with Jesus in person, but he says clearly that having the Holy Spirit indwell me is better.
Your post reminded me of one of my favorite Caedmon's Call songs, Shifting Sand, especially the verse that says
I've begged you for some proof
For my Thomas eyes to see
A slithering staff, a leprous hand
And lions resting lazily
A glimpse of your back-side glory
And this soaked altar going ablaze
But you know I've seen so much
And I explained it away
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