Jesus prays to the Father and the Father audibly answers. The Scripture says that “the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Still others said, ‘An angel of the Lord has spoken to Him.'”
The Lord reveals Himself to us according to our faith. In what is one of the greatest paradigm shifts in our culture and generation, we so often claim that when we see these miracles, then we will believe. But all throughout Scripture and Church history, we see the exact opposite. We see these revelations and miracles given according to our faith. Consider Elijah, he did not come to believe once the Lord rained down fire from the sky, but rather fire rained from the heavens because he believed so strongly. Noah did not believe because he received a revelation from God, rather he received the revelation because of his faith. The three men placed in the furnace did not come to know the Lord because the fires refused to draw near them, rather, the fires refused to harm them because of the faith. When Polycarp was martyred, he was did not come to believe because he was spared the slow agony of burning to death, rather, he was spared that torturous death because of his faith.
So many of us refuse to believe in these very miracles until we see them happen, but the Lord reveals them to us based on our faith. Thus, regardless of how much theology and doctrine we know, if we don’t believe in the miraculous, then we will never see it. If we don’t believe in the supernatural, then we will become theological philosophers at best, never experiencing the supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We are effectively theologically trained atheists if we disbelieve in the very characteristics of our faith that require true faith.
In this passage, we see those of no faith, hearing the sounds of the voice of the Lord, and thinking it to be thunder, and nothing more. God would not reveal Himself in any way to those who absolutely disbelieved in Him. Those who had little faith heard the voice, but, like Jesus on the road to Emmaus, the Father hid His identity from them, thus they believed the voice to be an angel of the Lord. Only to those who were truly orthodox in their faith was the full glory of the Lord revealed.
May we all be those who belong to this last group. May we never “quench the Spirit” by our disbelief, stating that we must see something or experience something before we will believe in it. That stands opposed to the definition given us in Scripture that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for.” In other nations, where having faith in Jesus can lead to execution, there are no casual believers. The dedicate their lives to Christ. They pray unceasingly, they gather together even when they stayed up late the night before. They have an expectation of the very miracles that in the West we teach have ceased. They have this sort of true faith in the unknown, the supernatural, the heavenly. They have a belief that God can do anything and that the “prayers of a righteous man prevaileth much,” thus they believe that God can do anything and they aren’t afraid to ask Him to do it, trusting fully that He can.
Consider this last thought. There are many earthly things that I have never experienced or seen. I’m sure many if not all of us can honestly say the same thing. But, I still believe in those things. Why is it so much easier for us to have faith in these earthly things than heavenly things? Why is it so much easier to have faith in man, a created being, than in God, our creator?
We are told to “walk by faith, not by sight,” and yet, does that truly describe our lives? Or do we say that we will only believe in what we see?
May the grace of the Lord be with us all, my beloved family. Christ is in our midst!