Believe without Seeing
When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah became a sign to the men of Nin′eveh, so will the Son of man be to this generation. The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nin′eveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
Jesus refers to the crowds as an evil generation because they were not gathering to seek Jesus as a Savior, rather they wanted to be a witness. They wanted to be able to say to their friends they witnessed a leper being healed or the crippled walking, with their own eyes. They were not looking to believe that Jesus was the Son of man who came to save us from our sins. Yes, Jesus can physically heal the sick and crippled, because nothing is impossible with God, but Jesus did not want to be just known for the miracles and signs that he could perform because it distracted from the message He was sent to give. If Jesus was just a miracle worker and physical healer, then His work on the cross was nothing more than another person hung on a cross. Jesus came to heal us spiritually, to give us mercy and forgiveness and to bring us back into union with God, our Father, something that cannot be seen with our human eyes. He used the physical healing of the sick and crippled to bring more of the broken and sinful to Himself and to lead people to believe He was the Son of God. The scribes and Pharisees also questioned Jesus when He forgave the sins of a paralytic. They could not see that he was forgiven, and they did not believe Jesus had the power to forgive sins. To prove to them that He could heal both the body and the soul, Jesus went ahead and physically healed the man who was paralyzed and said:
“Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of man as authority on earth to forgive sins” – He said to the man who was paralyzed – “I say to you, rise, take up your bed and go home” and the paralytic immediately rose up glorifying God! (Luke 5:17-26).
We need to be aware of the trappings of just looking for a sign to believe. When we receive a sign or witness a miracle, we may still not believe as the scribes and Pharisees did after the paralytic was healed, and they ultimately went on to plot to crucify Jesus. On the other hand, if we do not find a sign, we begin to question if God can even perform a miracle or if He is listening to us. Our unbelief will continue to grow if we are not satisfied. We need to stop looking for signs of our Lord and instead ask for spiritual healing and forgiveness (spiritual miracles), those things that we can not see. Go to Reconciliation this Lent and let go of all the sin, pain, guilt and brokenness. Allow Jesus, through our priests, to offer God’s forgiving love, the peace that comes with knowing we are loved by God, and that we are completely one hundred percent forgiven. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe (John 20:29).
Lent in Action:
Look for the spiritual miracles in all things today. From the sunrise to the sunset, see God everywhere.
God, help me to see you not through just miracles and signs but through your forgiving love and mercy. Show me where I need to turn away from sin and ask for forgiveness, and lift the weight of that sin that has crippled me. Heal my spiritual brokenness as the paralytic was broken physically and healed. Strengthen my faith in you and turn towards the cross of salvation so that I too can rise up and glorify God Almighty! Amen.