The Presence Of God
When Jesus walked this earth, among many there was much amazement with His teaching and with the miracles He performed. People were often held spellbound by this carpenter from Galilee. On the other hand, most of the people, especially those among the religious leadership rejected Him. Of those who had witnessed His miracles and among those who had only heard of them, there often arose a statement like, “…Master, we would see a sign from thee.” Show us a sign. Let us see you do something heavenly or magical. As a matter of fact, even when Jesus was on the cross they would say things like, “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross” or “He saved others, let Him save Himself.”
The world hasn’t changed much. Those who believe in God are still searching for a sign. Many of the religious movements thrive on the miraculous as if God has to do these kinds of things to prove His presence. Once demonstrated or perceived as such, much praise goes up honoring God for His presence among the group. I have often wondered what if would be like if God was not seen as revealing Himself in that manner. Would there still be praise? If there is no sign, would we recognize His presence. Does God have to part the waters of the Red Sea to prove anything to us? Would He still need to turn water to wine or make the sun go backwards in the sky for a day? Can His presence be known or felt without that?
In the book of First Corinthians the believers were struggling with all kinds of issues in their lives. These people had come from a world of open sin in the name of their religious gods. They had practiced these things for a lifetime and it was as common as getting up in the morning. Jesus stepped into their world through the preaching of the Gospel and changed everything. Their moral values had to change. No longer could they give themselves over to the pleasures of sin in the name of worship, but were taught to praise God even when things were not so pleasant. Their world was changing from the inside out. They were amazed and confused at the same time. They no longer had to go to some temple to find a god to worship because the God they were now worshipping was living right inside them. Every step they took, everywhere they went, God was there, seated on the throne of their hearts. There was nowhere to go to find God, He was in them as He is with us.
Corinth, as with any other town or village, was changed because of God living in some of the people who inhabited these places. A world lead by pagans, pushing their gods, was changed because a few measly believers began to understand the presence of God in their lives without the big show. As a matter of fact, from the preaching of the Cross which had invited them into Christ, the world was turned upside down. The mighty world power, Rome, was turned up on her ear by relatively few people who sensed and understood the presence of God. In later history, this small band of believers, by their faith and the power of God that was working through them, took over control of the world. Rome was no longer the world power. The church was and, if you want to know the truth, still is.
God has never needed mighty numbers to defeat an enemy. All He needed was a few with faith who believed that He was with them to accomplish the unimaginable. That is the way God does business and it, for some reason, is still difficult for us to see.
We do not need some sign of God’s presence in our lives. We have His Word on it. He has already told us that He lives in us because He bought us with a price of blood. We are only a few gathered together trying to do the work He has left us to do. Sometimes we are uncertain about how, when or where, but we should never be uncertain about His presence. He is with us, and, coupled with our faith in His ability and His presence, there is nothing which cannot be accomplished in this world. The Gospel was preached in one generation all over the world because of one phrase Jesus uttered when He commissioned it. “Lo, I will be with you always.”
God is with us. Who needs a sign? We have His promise. His promise can change us from the inside out and allow us to introduce Him to a world of other people who can also be changed by Him. We have the power because He resides in us. So, the question comes down to whether or not we will seek a sign to delay time or just move into life with all the confidence of heaven that we will accomplish what He wills for us. We are chosen and empowered. What else do we need?