I was reading the incident in Luke 5 where Jesus healed the paralysed bloke whose mates got him in front of Jesus by vandalising the roof of the house. He did an amazing thing here; well, two amazing things. Actually, three amazing things.
The first is that he forgave the guy's sins (verse 20). The religious types were understandably shocked. After all, for them, forgiveness entails goats and bulls and blood and guts and the right ceremonies.
The second is that he made him well. That, my friend, is not normal. No potions, antibiotics or physio – just a word of command.
The third is that he didn't seem to bat an eyelid at the fact that the man's friends would probably find themselves served with a lawsuit for damage to property, or at the very least a third-party insurance claim. Nah, not really – the third amazing thing is that he linked the first and second amazing things together:
Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
In other words, he proved his authority by doing a miracle – giving them a sign, if you will. And he pointed out that the forgiving thing and the miracle thing are equally tough. God's territory, in fact.
So it must have been pretty galling for Jesus when they later started asking for “a sign” to prove he was from God (Matthew 12:38 and 16:1) and asking what authority he had to do his thing in the temple (Matthew 21:23). Short-term memory loss, I guess.
Or maybe Jesus wasn't surprised at all, knowing, as he did, the true nature of what it is to be human – people born with a God-rejecting nature who'll display astonishing prowess at ignoring God's “signs” and, if you'll pardon the phrase, sticking two fingers up at his authority. The Bible says plenty about that. In Romans chapter 1 for example:
For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
Taking a bird's eye view of the whole of the Bible reveals a repeating pattern, over and over again. God warns, God reveals, people ignore, people disobey, people reject, people suffer. Pick pretty much any part you like, Genesis to Revelation, and it's there. The whole of history is a tale of God reaching out to His creation, forbearing, forgiving, providing chance after chance to recognise His authority and accept the signs He sends. Even down to what I believe will be a literal thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth (the millennium) – it's all about showing that, even in the best of circumstances, with the strongest of evidence, the heart of a human is still inclined to rebellion against its creator. Wow.
So if you're not a Christian take heed of the signs and don't reject your creator. Get right with Him through faith in Jesus. If you don't, you will pay a terrible price.
So if you're a Christian take heed of the signs and don't reject your creator. Listen to what He's telling you through scripture and your circumstances and do what He says, go where He leads. If you don't, you too will pay a price and end up wasting time, energy and strength building stuff that'll just get burnt up.
What sign from God are you looking for right now? Maybe He's already sent it and you're just not looking.