The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
What Are You Looking For?

There is an allegorical story of a farmer who had become restless at his work. One day he saw a strange cloud formation that spelled out the letters “GPC.” He took this as a message from God: “Go Preach Christ!” So he sold his farm and took to the road as a traveling evangelist. After several weeks his wife wondered whether he had been mistaken. “Perhaps,” she suggested one morning at breakfast, “GPC really meant ‘Go Plant Corn.”

In the 12th chapter of Matthew, Jesus was once again confronted by his critics, the religious leaders of his time called Pharisees, with a challenge. This time they wanted him to give them a “sign.” Most likely they wanted him to do something fantastically miraculous in order to prove that he was truly from God.

What an incredible request. These men had already witnessed miracle after miracle including water turned to wine, the blind brought sight, the leprous made whole, demons cast out of victims, the crippled made to walk and multitudes of people blessed by his matchless power. So NOW they want a sign. REALLY?

The response of Jesus is strong, harsh and to the point. A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! (Matthew 12:39a) Why was he so strong in his words? Because he understood what these men were about. They were not looking for a sign that Jesus was truly the Son of the Living God. They were seeking an opportunity to pick the miracle and its worker apart with their narrow, bigoted theological theories. That is why such generations would be called wicked and adulterous.

He went on to explain that they would get one sign and one sign only. It would be the same sign everyone would get; the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish (i.e. whale or great sea creature) for 3 days and 3 nights, so would the Son of Man be in the belly (heart) of the earth for 3 days and 3 nights.

We know that Jesus was speaking of the crux of the Gospel message; the death, burial and resurrection that he would experience. Many people are not satisfied with the miracle of God’s Word and its proclamation that Jesus is the Son of God and that Salvation comes only through him.

The reason they don’t believe is not because they have not seen a sign. It is not because there is no evidence or proof of its truth. It is not because they have not had it explained thoroughly and clearly enough. The reason they don’t believe is simple. THEY JUST DON’T WANT TO BELIEVE!

Why is that?  The reasons are legion: they don’t want to change; they are too proud to believe in the idea that they need a Savior; they fear the judgment of their unbelieving friends; they think they are too intelligent to accept anything by faith and many more.

Remember what Father Abraham told the rich man who had died and was experiencing the eternal flame of punishment when he wanted Lazarus to be sent back to preach to his brothers who had not believed. He told him that if they didn’t believe Moses and the Prophets they wouldn’t believe if they saw a man raised and come back from the dead.

That is why Jesus was so harsh on the unbelieving religious leaders. They had the truth. They had the evidence. They had the Son of the Living God right before them. Nothing Jesus could do for them would change anything. It takes faith and faith comes from God, but faith must be received if we want to be saved.

Believing with you,

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