Thursday, July 25, 2013
The Vision (7/25/13): The Craving for Extraordinary Experience
Note: I preached last Sunday at CRBC from Luke11:14-22 about Jesus healing a mute man and the unusual criticism this drew to him. Here are some of my notes from the exposition of v. 16 in the passage.
The criticism of Jesus in v. 16 is of a different sort. It comes as a temptation: “And others, tempting [peirazo] him, sought of him a sign from heaven” (v. 16). Now, this one is really hard to understand. They are saying to Jesus, “Do a miracle to prove to us that you are really a miracle worker.” And they ask this just after he has performed a miracle! They remind me of a man who went searching his house for his eyeglasses and all the while he was wearing them.
This shows the fickleness of the people (recall Jesus’ parable of the children in the marketplace in 7:31-35). It also shows how insatiable the craving is in spiritually fallen men for extra-ordinary experiences. This is true whether the charismatic who goes seeking for higher and deeper experiences or the Roman Catholic who goes from shrine to shrine to venerate weeping statues or the presumed “image” of Jesus in a piece of toast. Those who base their faith on such experience are like drug users; they need more and stronger doses to achieve a high.
I heard a report on a podcast the other day of a young woman, the child of a Christian apologist, who announced that she is now an atheist. In a statement she apparently said that part of the reason she did this is that she didn’t feel anything when she prayed. This is the problem when you base your Christian life on feelings and experiences and miracles. Authentic faith is not about how you feel or what you experience. It is about believing what is true. The greatest miracle has already been performed. Christ has died on the cross for sinners and been gloriously raised. And still men crave “proof” that Jesus is the Christ. When the Rich Man in Hades pleaded with Father Abraham to send someone back from the dead to warn his brothers, Abraham answered, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31).
May we find satisfaction in Word of God and in the finished work of Christ.
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle