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Mark 119 - Who's Terms?

The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.” Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.

Mark 8:11-13

We want life on our own terms.

· When we drive up to a red light, we want it to turn green just as we approach.

· When we step up to an elevator door, we want it to arrive just as we get there and for the doors to immediately.

· We want no one in line as we walk up to check-out of a store, or for a new line to open up so we can be the first person to be served.

· When we play golf, we want no one on the tee in front of us.

· When we arrive at the doctors or dentists, no matter how many people are in the waiting room, we want to be asked back right away.

And when it comes to God, we want the same thing. We’re looking for a God that we can control. We want a God that, when we say “Jump,” God says, “How high?” We want a God that responds whenever we snap our fingers. We want a God who comes a-running like pressing an icon on a smartphone.

This is exactly what’s going on here. These so-called spiritual leaders start to question Jesus. But they don’t give in, they relentlessly are pummeling him with their demands to see a miracle, a sign from heaven. Jesus is responding, addressing their questions, answering their requests, but not like they want.

· They want to see his credentials.

· They want to see his resume.

· They want to see his diploma.

Now, it doesn’t matter that there are people all over the place who have been healed by Jesus. It doesn’t matter that some of them were present for some of his miracles in the past. They want to see another miracle, right here, right now.

Their asking for yet another miracle is proof that their problem is not with lack of information, lack of data, lack of seeing miracles first-hand. No, their problem is the same as my problem. The same as your problem. The same problem for everyone who has ever drawn breadth on planet earth.

We want to be in control. We want to call the shots. We want to be in charge. We want to be the orchestra leader with their baton, and to have God come in when we nod our head at him. And then to stop at our command.

We want him to play the tune we pick out, at the pace we set. With the flick of our wrist, with the slightest movement of the baton of life, we want him to jump at our command.

And that my friend, is the exact opposite of the way things should be. No wonder God condemns us so harshly, so justly, so rightly. No wonder the truth stings us.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23

No wonder we push back with indignation about being called sinner. Not only is it true, but it also stings because we have to face its truth. We are called-out by its announcement; we have nowhere left to hide.

We want signs of prosperity, signs of healings, signs of an easy and comfortable life. And just like his answer to the Pharisees, Jesus’ answer to us is that of a deep sigh of disappointment. From the bottom of his heart and soul, Jesus experiences deep and pronounced disappointment.

His disappointment doesn’t come from a simple, single question from us, but the ongoing, never-ending demands. Demands that we command him, demands that we control him, demands of never being satisfied.

He has shown himself many times to us. He has provided over and over for us. He has demonstrated his power for us. And it’s never enough.

No wonder Jesus sighs deeply. Don’t we when faced with the same thing?

Jesus says that there will be no new sign. There are more than enough examples of his loving power, exercised on our behalf.

When will we say, “It’s enough Lord?” When will we come to the end of ourselves, thanking God for all he has done, for all his kindness? When will we fall down and confess our great sin of idolatry, making ourselves God, forcing him to respond and obey our whims instead of our following him?

That time is right now.

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