Read Mark 8:1-21

v 11.  Testing him, they demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.

 

I’m sure you’ve got the picture here. Where is your certificate? What are your credentials? Prove that you are who you say you are! Don’t you feel that is a wee bit ingenuous, after all how many miracles can you recall in Mark’s Gospel story already. Surely, they had enough evidence over and over again. But they kept on prodding at Him and challenging Him. Rather like the know-all, rebellious teenager who keeps shouting ‘Prove it: Prove it!’ – and then refutes the evidence that is put under his nose.

We ourselves live in an evidence-based society. Our signature is evidence for the Bank; our fingerprints are evidence in a court of Law; and our Drivers’ Licence is evidence of our entitlement to get behind the wheel of a car. When Jesus was on trial before King Herod, we read ‘ Herod was delighted at the opportunity to see Jesus, because he had heard about him and had been hoping for a long time to see him perform a miracle. ‘ (Luke 23) Herod wanted some evidence as to Jesus’ power to perform a miracle. Much the same can be found in John 2:18, when the Jewish Leaders demanded of Him ‘“What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.” ‘ In His reply, Jesus looked ahead to His own resurrection. ‘“All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” ‘  But this was evidence that the Leaders rejected; it simply didn’t suit them because it undermined their authority.

Be honest with yourself here: when people ask for evidence that your belief in God is justified and rational, what can you say? Does the evidence add up, or is there an element of faith and belief somewhere along the line? What are you going to say when friends and family say you have become a religious nutter? Not an easy situation to face is it, and it is perhaps one to talk over with your Christian friends, or find a good book, recommended by your Minister, that will help you think through it.

When you live openly as a Christian it is very likely that your faith will be tested in some way. The awkward questions will come, and you cannot remain silent when confronted by them. It is the Apostle Peter who writes in 1 Peter 3:15 ‘Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear.

Jesus was tested to the limit – He was a Man tested like no other.

Tuesday 17th March A Man tested like no other