Signs 4

Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him.                                                                                                              Luke. 2:34 NLT

We have seen that God’s signs are somewhat strange. Although sometimes the sign is an immediate confirmation of the validity of what has been said (for instance, the splitting of Jeroboam’s altar as confirmation of the prediction that a Davidic king named Josiah would one day desecrate that altar, 1 Kgs 13:5), much more commonly the sign itself is a future promise whose fulfillment will confirm the faith of the one who acts upon the promise.

It begins with Abraham, for whom the promise is a land that he never possessed. But because of his act of faith, his descendants did indeed possess that land. The culmination of all of those signs is Jesus Christ, as Simeon recognized. But what an act of faith it was, and is, to recognize him. What about the Wise Men? They were looking for a king; what was it about a little boy in the modest home of a refugee couple that made them say, “This is him!”? Faith. What made Simeon, who had read the same Scriptures that had led others to look for a heaven-sent mighty man, to joyfully embrace this baby of a couple so poor that the only circumcision offering they could afford was a couple of pigeons, and instantly proclaim, “This is he!”? Faith.

Yes, the Savior of the world, the One who by reason of dying for the world, will have supreme authority over the world in the end is this One, who “has no comeliness that we should desire him” (Isa 53:2) How like God! This is the evidence upon which we are to stake our eternal destiny? This is the reason why we should surrender the shape and direction of our lives to God’s will? A quiet, homely man telling stories in a country accent? Yes, he was able to do some startling miracles, but that was not enough to counteract all the contrary evidence. So they cried, “Give us a sign!” And he replied, “The only sign I will give you is the sign of Jonah.” Exactly. Believe in him now because at some future point, he would rise from the dead. What kind of a sign is that? It is a God sign. And even that, when it was fulfilled, was not enough to produce faith in an unbeliever.

So today, for you and me, Jesus is the sign. He is the sign that there is a God, a God of infinite, undeserved love. He is the sign that this life is not “a tale full of sound and fury, told by an idiot,” but is one of meaning and purpose. He is the sign that, at the end of the day, he will raise us to eternal life with him. Can I prove all this by your five senses, or by some logical syllogism?

Of course not! That is not the way faith works. But is there reason to have faith? Oh, yes. Look at the Sign and see the face of God!

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