Recently, I was involved in a discussion/debate/disagreement, whatever we need to call it, regarding the existence of God. The guy considered himself proficient in science, so he wanted evidence and falsifiability. Science, true science, is about disprovable hypothesis. So I flipped that around on him and challenged him to disprove my hypothesis that God exists.
“Well, I can’t do that,” he said. “There is no evidential argument against it that you’ll accept.”
“Of course there is,” I replied. “Prove to me that there is no love. If you can prove to me that there is no love, I’ll accept your premise that there is no God.”
Evidence. Signs. Proofs. Humanity never changes. We are surrounded by evidence, but demand signs and wonders.
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 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.”
– Matthew 12:38-40, ESV
The world is awash with men and women claiming to be great in this way or that way, and they display their “signs” to confirm their greatness. Just yesterday I watched a proof-video of a pastor claiming the ability to walk on air. It was the most laughable proof-video I have seen in a very long time. More like a Saturday Night Live skit than a proof.
But there is widespread interest today in new-ageism, channeling, occultism, supernatural phenomena, death and revival, or near-death experiences. Meditation, mysticism, crystal healing are found in every city and small town. Astrology, palm reading, tarot and psychic readings are easy to track down for those who are drawn to them.
The body of Christ is not immune to this same phenomenon. I see what I believe to be an unhealthy interest within the church – an interest in new revelations and supernatural signs. It is such interest that drives charlatans like the “air walking” pastor to do what he does. Some follow Paul, others Apollos, and still others, Air-Jordan, the air-walking pastor.
In John 4, a man came to Jesus begging on behalf of his son who was dying!!
So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”
– John 4:48, ESV
I find that response shocking. This man wasn’t asking to see signs and wonders. He was asking for the life of his son.
While shocking, I also see that the response reveals to us the heart and mind of Jesus toward sign-seeking. We are rapidly approaching that time of year wherein we celebrate “the sign of Jonah” – Jesus’ bodily resurrection from the dead. That sign, and that sign alone should suffice, just as Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees in our text above.
One of the greatest dangers of wowing after impressive signs and wonders is that while many of these things might appear, or even be supernatural, they are not all of God. Jesus straight-up warned us of this in Matthew’s gospel.
For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
– Matthew 24:24, ESV
Think about what Jesus is saying in that. There will be/have been impressive signs and wonders performed by charlatans that are so convincing that even the elect will be led astray by them.Unlike those who heard Jesus speak this, we have the codified word of God in our biblical text. I contend that we have, in that, everything we need to prepare us and sustain us until Jesus returns. Don’t be wowed by signs and wonders. Don’t seek after them. Be wowed, rather, by the Lord and King Jesus Christ, risen from the dead. That is more than enough for us.
And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
– 2 Peter 1:19, ESV