Friday, June 12, 2009

Prove It!

Prove it!!

Who says there is a God? Prove it!
There is no God. I don’t believe what I can’t see. Can you hear him/her? Can you touch God? No you can’t. So prove it.
Only the narcissist believes in a personal God.
I accept you believe in a God, but that’s your belief or idea. It’s not mine.

Ever heard those statements before? I’m sure you’ve heard many like that and more. They all demand some kind of empirical evidence to satisfy our personal belief system. Basically, all are saying, “Prove it.” Prove there is a God. Prove Jesus was crucified and arose from the dead. Prove that he was nothing more than a disillusioned Jew who had grandiose ideas of his mission in life.

These questions have been asked for by millions for centuries. Consider these words penned by the Apostle of Love.

John 2:18 The Jews then said to him (Jesus), “What sign have you to show us for doing this?”

Jesus had just cleansed the temple and the Jewish leaders were furious. They wanted Jesus to justify his actions and speech. What right did he have to go and disrupt the order? What made him so righteous as to pronounce judgment upon them? What made him so great? Prove you are from God.

They set up a measuring stick. If you can prove, visibly demonstrate, intellectually justify, your actions, then we may believe what you say. His actions disrupted their idea of order. It didn’t fit their measuring stick belief. They had to have a defensible reason for his actions. After all, they were the religious leaders of the temple. They had been embarrassed. Their position as the righteous leaders of Judaism had been challenged and shamed by his actions against them.

They needed atonement. Jesus had to pay for his actions by proving he who he was and that he had indeed been sent by God through deeds of justification. How generous!! How Petty!!

Don’t we do the same thing today? Our society demands some kind of tangible, intellectual, work of justification to prove our faith. They want a sign, something that fits our intellectual understanding.

So how does Jesus respond?

John 2:19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

Jesus turns the tables on them. He answers their challenge with a challenge of his own. What a stroke of brilliance! He recognizes they have abandoned faith. As Adrienne Von Speyr, from whom I depend for this meditation, says

“A faith that rests only on the calculation of what is seen is not faith.”

Wow! We know that 1 plus 1 equals 2. 2 plus 2 equals 4. Ms. Speyr points out that faith isn’t something that has an equal answer. Now we can gain faith from miracles or tangible proofs, but faith is never, never dependent on those signs. No one can demand that faith be proved by signs. It is not in our rights. God will not be bartered.

Nor should we who claim to be Christians demand that the evidences of God working in our life proves God. That is not our claim to make. God will not bargain with us for faith. It doesn’t make any difference how God wants to reveal himself to us, God still demands faith. When he offers himself to us, he is the one who provides the faith. But we aren’t the ones to demand he prove himself. This is what Jesus drove out of the temple. People were bartering, to prove their faith. Jesus will have none of that.

Every time Jesus does something, it’s an offering of love. If we overlook that offer we will be refused faith. So when a Christian shares his faith, the only response of love that provides a benefit to the other, is a response of faith. Otherwise, God cannot be known.

I’ll have more to say down the line. But this is a crucial idea. I hope you appreciate my contemplations upon my reading of Adrienne Von Speyr’s book The Word Becomes Flesh.”

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