• Jon Forrest

seeking a sign?

The Upward Look by Jon Forrest

Seeking a Sign?

In 1874 Methodists in Swan Quarter, North Carolina approached Sam Sadler, asking him to sell property in the center of town near the courthouse so they could build a house of worship. Sadler turned theme down. The congregation accepted property given to them in another part of town and began to build. They had the floor, walls and roof finished and prepared for the dedication on September 17, 1876. On September 16 a near hurricane strength storm hit Swan Quarter, flooding the town. The little building was lifted up and floated down the road. It took three turns before coming to rest on the lot that had been refused to them by Sam Sadler. Mr. Sadler recognized that God wanted the church building on that piece of property and quickly gave the land to the church. The little building and the church remain there today.

When Jesus returned to his home country of Galilee from his journey to Jerusalem for Passover where he had performed numerous miracles and signs, he was already fully aware that a prophet is not accepted in his home town. He had seen a remarkable conversion fo the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well and many of the people of that area. But he knew that back home, folks would not be so quick to embrace his role as Messiah.

The latter part of John 4 tells us that Jesus had arrived in the town of Cana where he had performed his first miracle. A man referred to as a "certain royal official" who had heard of the signs (miracles) Jesus had performed in Jerusalem came to him with a serious problem. His son was very sick, apparently he was at death's door. He wanted Jesus to come with him to Capernaum (about 20 miles away) where he lived to heal his son.

Jesus' reply was very interesting. '"Unless you people see signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe."' - John 4:48

Jesus wanted people to believe in him for who he was, not just for what he could do for them. When a person gets elected for a high public office or someone has a windfall fo money such as winning the lottery, or a huge settlement or inheritance comes in, all of a sudden, he finds friends and relatives he never knew he had. People try to get close, so they can gain special influence or a piece of the financial pie. That individual begins to wonder if anyone likes him for who he is, not for what he can do for them.

You can imagine Jesus' frustration because of who he is and who he wanted to be to everyone. He was the son of God and the Messiah who had been promised by God to save the world from their sins. He was worthy to be worshiped, not for what he did, but for who he was.

Many people seem to worship Jesus because of what he has done for them or what they want him to do. He becomes their spiritual "rabbit's foot" to rub when they feel the need for a little luck. "I have a great financial need, so I'll go to church this week and see if it helps." "My kids are getting out of hand, so I'll pray and see if God will fix it." If that person were to simply surrender fully to God through faith in Christ and live a life committed to him, they would find a constant partner in the good and bad times.

He's not a genie! He's God!

The entire reason Jesus came into our world was to restore our relationship with God through his sinless life, his death and his resurrection from the dead. He wants all of you all the time. He hopes that is what you want too.

The man in North Carolina would not surrender to God's plan until a flood got his attention. The royal official who approached Jesus became a believer along with his family when Jesus healed his son. Is there something you are waiting for Jesus to do to convince you to worship only him? I think he already did it when he died for your sins and rose from the grave. What do you think?

Sunday we will take a special look at this, the second sign of Christ recorded by John in his gospel writing. The message will be "When Nothing Works, Try Jesus!" based on John 4:43-54. I hope you will come and be challenged and encouraged by this message from our series on SIGNS.

Seeking Him, not his signs,


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