- By Rev. Devadosan Sugirtharaj
- Posted 05/17/2020
- Viewed 40
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- God’s miracles, signs and wonder: Skepticism and Cynicism about faith .
- Biblical perspective on Faith: God demonstrates his power to his people when they trust in him
- How can we see the glory of God through our faith in God in every day life? Today’s reading gives us enough answer to this question.
Miracle: No single word in the Greek Testament called as miracle. The word ‘miracle’ comes from Latin called miraculous that means wonder. In the Bible, there are four different words used to note the concept of miracle. They are: Ergon(work), Wonder (Teras); Power( Dunamis) and Signs( Semeion). Miracle is a unique and extraordinary event creating wonder through the power of God to demonstrate his gracious and redemptive purpose.
Glory: The powerful, important and shining majesty of God’s presence. Hebrew word, Kabod means heavy, weight and honor. Give glory to God means give honour to God. In the New Testament, it is noted as doxa. Doxa means praise, divine power, majesty. It belongs to God only, not human.
How can we see the glory of God through faith?
1. We see the glory of God by faith through miracles of God when our faith overrules the power of reason.
1. In this passage, Apostle John writes that Martha’s understanding of miracles seems to be acceptable but Jesus’ words on raising Lazarus was overwhelmed by her reason and natural senses.
1. John 11:21-24: “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask. Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last”
மார்த்தாள் இயேசுவினிடத்தில் வந்து: ஆண்டவரே, நீர் இங்கேயிருந்தீரானால் என் சகோதரன் மரிக்கமாட்டான். இப்பொழுதும் நீர் தேவனிடத்தில் கேட்டுக்கொள்ளுவதெதுவோ அதைத் தேவன் உமக்குத் தந்தருளுவார் என்று அறிந்திருக்கிறேன் என்றாள். இயேசு அவளை நோக்கி: உன் சகோதரன் உயிர்த்தெழுந்திருப்பான் என்றார்.அதற்கு மார்த்தாள்: உயிர்த்தெழுதல் நடக்கும் கடைசிநாளிலே அவனும் உயிர்த்தெழுந்திருப்பான் என்று அறிந்திருக்கிறேன் என்றாள்.
2. Reason is God’s gift to know the difference between right and wrong, good and bad etc. Reason is part of our thinking process. It needs facts and figures to comprehend reason. Some argue that faith is not compatible with reason because it is based on fact.
3. But the Bible tells us that faith is over and above reason and also is not to be subject to criteria used by reason. To use reason on matters of faith is not only inappropriate but also dishonour, inappropriate and faithless.
4. 1 Corinthians 1:25: For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
இந்தப்படி, தேவனுடைய பைத்தியம் என்னப்படுவது மனுஷருடைய ஞானத்திலும் அதிக ஞானமாயிருக்கிறது; தேவனுடைய பலவீனம் என்னப்படுவது மனுஷருடைய பலத்திலும் அதிக பலமாயிருக்கிறது.
5. Biblical Example: Acts 17:16-34: Paul’s ministry in Athens. He reasoned with the people such as Jews, God-fearing Greeks, Group of Epicurean, Stoic Philosophers in the meeting of the Areopagus. Some accepted the gospel as faith overruled the reason and some ridiculed him as reason overruled the faith.
6. When we put our faith in God and believes though our common sense, logic and reason is totally against to believe it, we will see the glory of God.
7. The African impala can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance of greater than 30 feet. Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo with a 3-foot wall. The animals will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will fall. Faith is the ability to trust what we cannot see, and with faith we are freed from the flimsy enclosures of reason that only fear allows to entrap us.
2. We see the glory of God through miracles of God by faith when our faith overrules the power of fractures of faith.
1. In this passage, Apostle John writes that Martha’s faith had been fractured inside and torn between beliefs and trusting and so she could not believe that her brother Lazarus would be raised again physically before her eyes.
1. John.11:23-27: Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
இயேசு அவளை நோக்கி: உன் சகோதரன் உயிர்த்தெழுந்திருப்பான் என்றார்.
அதற்கு மார்த்தாள்: உயிர்த்தெழுதல் நடக்கும் கடைசிநாளிலே அவனும் உயிர்த்தெழுந்திருப்பான் என்று அறிந்திருக்கிறேன் என்றாள். இயேசு அவளை நோக்கி: நானே உயிர்த்தெழுதலும் ஜீவனுமாயிருக்கிறேன், என்னை விசுவாசிக்கிறவன் மரித்தாலும் பிழைப்பான்; உயிரோடிருந்து என்னை விசுவாசிக்கிறவனெவனும் என்றென்றைக்கும் மரியாமலும் இருப்பான்; இதை விசுவாசிக்கிறாயா என்றார். அதற்கு அவள்: ஆம், ஆண்டவரே, நீர் உலகத்தில் வருகிறவரான தேவகுமாரனாகிய கிறிஸ்து என்று நான் விசுவாசிக்கிறேன் என்றாள்.
2. Fractured faith is a faith that believes in God and his power onside and at the same time, believes that God cannot do anything in this world beyond nature. Sometimes we say to the Lord that He is powerful but we don’t believe that He can do powerful things in our life.
3. Stephen Black on his Blog: I’m a Christian who blogs as opposed to a Christian blog. While some of my posts are overtly ‘Christian,’ most are not. The blog name sums up my own stumbling, faltering faith. As I see it though, a fractured faith is better than no faith at all. But the bible says that the problem with the fractured faith does not open us to see the glory of the Lord.
4. When your faith is a unwavering faith , then you will see God’s response. James.1:6-8: But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
5. Biblical example: Numbers 13-14: 12 spies to spy the promised land and 10 had fractured faith and 2 had unwavering faith. Numbers 14:30: Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.
எப்புன்னேயின் குமாரன் காலேபும், நூனின் குமாரன் யோசுவாவும் தவிர, மற்றவர்களாகிய நீங்கள் நான் உங்களைக் குடியேற்றுவேன் என்று ஆணையிட்டுக்கொடுத்த தேசத்தில் பிரவேசிப்பதில்லை.
6. Illustration: Over in Burma, Judson was lying in a foul jail with 32 lbs. of chains on his ankles, his feet bound to a bamboo pole. A fellow prisoner said, "Dr. Judson, what about the prospect of the conversion of the heathen?", with a sneer on his face. His instant reply was, "The prospects are just as bright as the promises of God."
3. We see the glory of God through miracles of God by faith when our faith overrules the public opinions and embarrassments.
1. In this passage, Apostle John writes that Martha’s faith had been conditioned by public opinions and she was embarrassed when Jesus asked them to remove the stone laid at the entrance of the tomb..
2. John.11: 38-40: Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.“Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
அப்பொழுது இயேசு மறுபடியும் தமக்குள்ளே கலங்கிக் கல்லறையினிடத்திற்கு வந்தார். அது ஒரு குகையாயிருந்தது; அதின்மேல் ஒரு கல் வைக்கப்பட்டிருந்தது. இயேசு: கல்லை எடுத்துப்போடுங்கள் என்றார். மரித்தவனுடைய சகோதரியாகிய மார்த்தாள் அவரை நோக்கி: ஆண்டவரே, இப்பொழுது நாறுமே, நாலுநாளாயிற்றே என்றாள். இயேசு அவளை நோக்கி: நீ விசுவாசித்தால் தேவனுடைய மகிமையைக் காண்பாய் என்று நான் உனக்குச் சொல்லவில்லையா என்றார்.
3. In this era, Christian faith is considered as irrelevant and believing in God for amazing wonders is irrational. Sometime we as Christians give up our faith because of public opinion and act like them. If we do, we are caught up in the trap as Martha faced and we will miss out to see the glory of God through his amazing signs and wonders in our faith life.
4. Biblical example: Genesis 6-7: Noah: He started to build the ark sometimes before the rain came. Think about what his neighbours said. Imagine the embarrassment he faced to obey God. But he was faithful and saw the glory of God in God’s amazing protection/redemption over the flood through his faith and he saved his family. Public opinions and embarrassments should not nullify the faith.
5. Illustration: During the reign of Oliver Cromwell, there was a shortage of currency in the British Empire. Representatives carefully searched the nation in hopes of finding silver to meet the emergency. After one month, the committee returned with its report. "We have searched the Empire in vain seeking to find silver. To our dismay, we found none anywhere except in the cathedrals where the statues of the saints are made of choice silver." To this, Oliver Cromwell eloquently answered, "Let's melt down the saints and put them into circulation.
6. Being ashamed of Christ and his power is a serious issue. God wants us to confess our faith in him rather being worried about public opinions or embarrassments. You remember the Lord’s words in Matthew 10:32- 33—“Everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”
மனுஷர் முன்பாக என்னை அறிக்கை பண்ணுகிறவன் எவனோ, அவனை நானும் பரலோகத்திலிருக்கிற என் பிதாவின் முன்பாக அறிக்கைப் பண்ணுவேன்.
மனுஷர் முன்பாக என்னை மறுதலிக்கிறவன் எவனோ, அவனை நானும் பரலோகத்திலிருக்கிற என் பிதாவின் முன்பாக மறுதலிப்பேன்.
As the people of God, in order to see the glory of God through wonders and miracles in our lives, we are called to believe in Christ. In order to see God’s glory through faith we need to do the following truths.
1. We need to exercise our faith overruling the power of reason
2. We need to exercise our faith overruling the dangers of fractured faith
3. We need to exercise our faith overruling the public opinions and embarrassments.
Questions for Your Reflections
1. Do you believe that Christ can do mighty things in your life? If so, how does it reflect in your daily life?
2. Reason is the gift of God. Sometimes reason tries to make faith inferior. In what ways do you see the faith is underestimated or considered as irrelevant?
3. Fractured faith is a wavering faith. It believes in God but denies his power. Have you ever experienced it in your life? How do you protect yourself from this fractured faith?
4. Public opinions especially in our social culture make Christian faith as irrelevant and non-sense. How far do these public opinions influence your life and spirituality? Have you ever embarrassed to profess your faith because of public opinions? How do you overcome it?
5. What are the miracles or wonders you expect from God? Do you believe that God may grant them to you when you ask him? If so, would you spend some time with God and share your needs in prayer?