|Volume 24 Number 8 August 2022
Cecil May, Jr.
“The Jews demand signs” (1 Corinthians 1:22 ESV). Throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry, He worked “mighty works and wonders and signs,” which “attested to” (guaranteed) the truth of who he claimed to be (Acts 2:22). Throughout the Gospel records, He healed the sick, casts out demons and raised the dead. Yet, frequently, He was asked by His doubters and enemies, “Show us a sign!”
The signs and wonders He was doing were eminently suitable for a divine King of a spiritual kingdom, the kind of kingdom He came to establish (John 18:26). They show Him to have power over sickness, demons and death.
Jesus’ enemies were not satisfied. They wanted a material kingdom to defeat Rome, freeing them from Roman domination and establishing a kingdom in which they would rule over the nations, the Gentiles. So, they wanted some kind of sign of military power, maybe like Satan suggested: “Go up on the temple tower and jump off; the people will be amazed when angels bear you up and keep you from harm” (paraphrase of Matthew 4:5-6).
Jesus usually answered the request for a sign cryptically, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah” (Matthew 16:4). In Matthew 12:40, He added, “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” The “sign of the prophet Jonah” was Jesus’ resurrection!
It turned out just like Abraham told the rich man in torment. “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And the rich man said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ Abraham said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”
Let It Go!
There are many American movies on the television today. The imagination and ingenuity of movie makers are always surprising and innovative. A new American movie coming out soon features the main character who is motivated by vengeance. Vengeance is defined as “punishment inflicted or retribution for an injury or wrong.” Vengeance is often seen as a good motivation in modern American movies, but is vengeance a good motivator for Christians?
We often have many challenges in our lives. None of us are exempt from people in our lives who cause us harm, speak ill of us, or even endanger our lives. However, as Christians, what is our response to those people? Should we seek revenge and vengeance upon those who cause us harm? How should we respond to those who do evil in our lives?
In his letter to the church at Rome, Paul urged his readers to be careful about this issue. He said, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:19-21 NKJV)
As we look around at God’s creation, from the awesome stars and planets in space to the intricate details of the human body, we see a God who knows what He is doing and is capable of doing what is needed. If God knew what He was doing in creation, He certainly knew better than we do and how to manage the issue when someone does evil to us.
So, when someone in our lives causes us harm or does evil to us, let us step back, give this issue to God, and let Him handle it. God is much more qualified and able to oversee the issue than we are! Let it go!