We are at that time of year where in many Christmas movies you will hear the saying, “seeing is believing”. Is that really true? Is seeing really believing? In many of these movies, the children still believe in the magic and the miracles of Christmas, whereas the adults do not. So, the children spend much of these movies trying to prove that something or someone is real by getting the adult to see and believe.
Now, I’m not going to dive any deeper into those movies today. What I initially wanted to preach about for a few Sundays this month is about the miracle work of the Lord in our lives today. We read about miracles all the time in scripture, but I tell you that God is still that same God today. So, since He’s still the same God, I tell you that I believe He’s still performing many miracles in our world today. I know this to be true because I look and I see myself in the mirror everyday!
Yet, there are many people who would struggle with believing in God still performing miracles. One reason they struggle with believing in miracles is because they can’t see the miracle. Another reason that many people struggle with believing in the miracle is because they have completely rejected the miracle worker Himself.
You see, it is hard to believe in miracles when you don’t believe in the One who is performing the miracle. So, before I can start preaching about the miracles that are happening today, I must first talk about the miracle worker again. I want you to believe in the power of miracles but, you must first believe in the miracle worker.
IF only I saw Jesus
There are many people today who say, “if only I could have been there to see Jesus, I would believe in Him.” They say, “if only I could have been there to hear Him preach or to see Him ‘make the blind to see’, I would believe in Him”. This is a fascinating thought that leans on the idea of “seeing is believing”.
Yet, seeing is certainly not always believing, is it? Let’s think about this for just a moment. Many times seeing is simply just seeing. What I mean by this is that most times when we are witnessing something, it does not always lead us to a conclusion on the matter just because we saw it. In fact, many times we are able to conclude something without ever having seen anything.
Seeing is seeing
For example, you and I can watch a football game and witness a receiver make an insane catch for a touchdown. We will witness the catch, watch every replay, but after all of that, sometimes, we are left wondering what we just saw. We would say to one another, “I don’t know how we came down with that ball for a catch.” Seeing sometimes leaves us asking more questions.
In another example, we could be watching a magician do some magic on TV, on our phones, or in person. The magician can pull a rabbit from his hat or make people or other things vanish right before our eyes. Though we have seen the magician do these things, we would certainly be left questioning “what was real” or “what was the illusion”?
This same thing happens with much of what we see that we consider to be impossible. There are many people who have seen things happen that they would describe as being impossible, and in many cases, people are left with more questions. Ultimately there is doubt or more question when they stand in witness of the impossible.
Jesus was not believed
We see that seeing is simply seeing even in scripture. There were many people who lived during the time of Jesus, saw the miracles, and heard Him preach, but they did not believe. In John’s gospel, he wrote (John 1:11), “He [Jesus] came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.”
Christ was rejected by as many (if not more) who had seen Him in person than those that accepted Him. They would see Jesus perform miracles and would be left wondering, “how did He do that?” Because, again, seeing is not believing. No better example of this can be shown to you than what is recorded in the gospels.
Recorded in the gospels is a time where Jesus had healed a demon-possessed, blind and mute man (Matt. 12:22-30; Mark 3:20-27; Luke 11:14-23). After healing this man the people began to wonder (Matt 12:23), “Could this be the Son of David?” Yet, the Pharisees stood by in witness and claimed that Jesus was casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub, the ruler of demons (Matt. 12:24).
The rejected cornerstone
Peter described this type of witness as one who was disobedient because they did not believe in Christ. Peter wrote (1 Pet. 2:7-8), “[Jesus] to those who are disobedient [did not believe], ‘[He was] The stone which the builders rejected [and] has become the chief cornerstone,’ and ‘a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.’” This rejected cornerstone is something Peter quoted from Psalm 118.
The cornerstone was often the stone that was used to start construction. In the days when the temple was being built, they would not shape the stones at the site of construction. They would measure, hammer out, and shape the stones at the quarry and the finished piece would be delivered to the construction site.
The first stone, being the cornerstone, was often rejected because it’s measurements would be off. They would replace the cornerstone with one that fitted the right measurements. So, Peter in describing Jesus as both the rejected and chief cornerstone is saying that Jesus was perfect but was rejected. Christ was perfect to measurement but the eyes of the disobedient could not believe it, and so, they rejected Him.
The point of all of this being that the eyes can be deceived. A lot of times we let our eyes fool us into what we begin to believe. This is sadly what happened back then and is now still happening today. Many are searching for Jesus with their physical eyes instead of searching for Him in their hearts. You will never find the miracle worker searching that way.
The eye can be deceived
This is exactly what happened to some of the people when they saw Jesus healed demon-possessed man. The Pharisees used what the people saw, and turned it to work against the people and then deceived the people. This is why Paul said (2 Cor. 5:7), “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” The reason being is that the eyes can be deceived. If we try to solely walk this path by what we see, there’s a good chance we will end up on the wrong path.
One thing we must remember is that Jesus did not perform miracles to create believers. Think about it, if you lived in those days and you had no idea who Jesus was, but saw Him making the blind see and the lame get up and walk, you would not easily believe in Him. You would wonder if any of it was real; who was all in on the trick or what kind of scam was Jesus running.
Jesus performed miracles to confirm the growing faith of the believer or to confirm who He was. If you want to believe in Christ, I tell you that your faith in Him is not going to ever be because you were able to see the miracle. We must still decide on whether or not what we saw was real or just a fancy illusion. In other words, we must decide whether God is the truth or whether it is all just a fancy illusion.
Walking by faith
Frankly, I do not believe any of this to be some grand illusion. To believe in the miracle worker, the faith must be in your heart. Seeing the miracle is simply not enough. Unlike those children in the Christmas movies, I cannot prove to you that God or the miracles are real by simply showing it to you. IF you could see God, there’s still a real good chance that you doubt that it’s really God! (You might think I’ve shown you a created image.)
The writer of Hebrews did not conclude that faith is the evidence of things seen. No, the writer of Hebrews concluded that faith is the substance (the realization) of things hoped for and the evidence (the proof) of things not seen (Heb. 11:1).
If someone were to ask me, “How can I believe in Christ?” I would answer that believing begins in your heart. Faith truly is realization, which is also acceptance. The reason why Jesus is such a stumbling stone for so many is because there is a struggle going on within the heart. The struggle is the acceptance of the truth of Christ vs. what the eyes have witnessed. (This struggle is not there for many because we have decided to either believe it’s true or it’s not the truth).
A change in sight
We do not walk by what we see physically on this journey. No, we walk by our faith in the Lord, if we are true believers! Faith in the Lord gives you a brand new sight that is no longer veiled but now is open to the truth (realization). Seeing by this truth allows us to now stand in witness of the Lord’s blessings and His miracles each and everyday! I cannot make you see God if you’re trying to see Him through your physical eyes, but I can show you the path to seeing Him if you open your heart to Him.
If you choose to open your heart to God, you will be blessed with a brand new sight. This year, I finally got me a pair of glasses and boy what a difference these things have made for me. I did not realize how much of this world I was missing! What was dull was now colorful. What was not there was now there and it was crystal clear. The stars in the sky began to re-emerge before me again and it was all so beautiful. You just don’t know how precious a thing you are missing out on because you’re only viewing the world through the lens of your eyes and not through the lens of your heart.
As Peter said (1 Pet. 2:7), “to you who believe, He [God] is precious.” That relationship that the believer has with the Lord is something we treat with such great care because the Lord is so good to us. This Christmas, I want to open the hearts of those who have been disobedient to the goodness that is God so that you can stand in witness of His marvelous joy.
You cannot receive such goodness if you continue to choose to reject the Lord. I want you to experience the miracles of God in our world today. This is that miracle: As Peter said, (1 Pet. 1:7-8), “Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.”