26 February 2010

Was It a Sign From Heaven?

It was about seven o’clock one morning recently when I looked out the glass door toward the backyard and the utility house and I saw something that I had never seen before since moving into this house in the year of 2004. Shinning brightly on the side of the utility house was a circle with a bright cross in the middle of it. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing so I walked hurriedly to my office and got my camera and took some pictures of that scene. I wanted my wife to see what I had seen so she would not think that I was having a hallucination. I thought to myself, people around the world are always ‘seeing’ the face of Jesus in the clouds and even sometimes in pancakes. Of course certain religionists are always seeing the likeness of Mary, the mother of Jesus, in various places and on different substances. So why could I not be the fortunate one this time to have a ‘sign from heaven’ and in this case, a cross. Now I know the cross I saw was not the traditional one on which the Lord was crucified but nevertheless, it was a cross. You can envision that if you turn this cross just a bit, it would be the kind that we believe Jesus was placed on and crucified. The cross that I saw is called Crux Decussata. “Crux Decussata comes from decus, Latin for 'distinction', 'honour', 'glory' and 'grace'.” I must point out that the side of the utility house that had the circle and cross on it was facing west and I was looking east toward the rising of the sun. But was it a sign from heaven?
Man’s nature never changes. We have a strong desire to see in order to believe. When Jesus Christ walked upon this earth, he taught people about the coming of the kingdom of God and performing miracles, there were certain unbelievers who requested that Jesus perform a ‘sign’ for them, seemingly just to satisfy their curiosity. In fact some of His hearers (the Pharisees) had accused Him of performing miracles by the power of Beelzebub and not by the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:24-32). They also said to Jesus, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You” (Matthew 12:38). The writer Mark record states it in this manner: “Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him” (8:11). So you can plainly understand that their request was not made in sincerity and from honest hearts. The reply from the Lord came swiftly: “But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah” (Matthew 12:39, 40). Jesus spoke in reference to His resurrection from the dead. If the people of His day would not believe in Him because of His miracles and teaching, there remained no further evidence to be given. Jesus knew that even if a dead person returned to the world of the living, such would not necessarily cause faith to be found in the hard hearts of some people. While Jesus lived under the Old Covenant, the Jewish populace was to adhere to the writings of “Moses and the prophets” (Luke 16:27-31).

The apostle John summed up the basic reason (though Jesus often responded because of compassion) for the signs/miracles performed while he was alive. “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30, 31). After the resurrection of our Lord, He sent His apostles on a world wide mission to preach the good news of His death for the sins of the world and His resurrection (Matthew 28:19, 20; Mark 16:15, 16). “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen” (Mark 16:20). The Hebrew writer had reference to the teaching of the Lord and the apostles and the reason for the miraculous signs in their work: “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will” (Hebrews 2:3, 4)? The word “confirm” means “to establish the truth, accuracy, validity, or genuineness of; corroborate; verify.” So the deity of Jesus was established by His signs and wonders; and, the word that the Holy Spirit gave to the apostles was confirmed by miracles. Therefore, there is no longer a necessity for ‘signs from heaven’ or from any other source. Today we do not need any likeness of Jesus, a shroud, pieces of His cross or perhaps His robe. When Thomas saw Jesus following His resurrection, Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). The faith we have comes from the word of God and not from any ‘signs from heaven’ (Romans 10:17). The apostle Paul declared in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” The Christian’s faith rests upon objective truth found in the inspired word of God, and not by subjective feelings that might arise from seeing ‘signs from heaven’.
Oh, my ‘sign from heaven’ occurred when the rays of the morning sun shined on a window on my house and was reflected then to the utility house. The reason that this had never occurred before was because there had been a Bartlett pear tree shielding the sun rays from doing such but my neighbor had the tree removed several months ago. It is amazing how the reflection of the sun rays on the window pane and frame caused the circle and a cross to appear on my utility house. Maybe the major reason was to say to me that X marks the spot where I need to do some painting just below the window on the utility house.

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