How Miracles Make Skeptics

[If I were to have a conversation with Jesus, then this is what it would probably look like.]

Me: “I’ve got a bone to pick with you.”

Jesus: “Me?”

Me: “Yup.”

Jesus: “Well, then, bone-picker, let’s hear it.”

Me: “I don’t get why you let so many people become skeptics when you obviously have the ability to perform miracles that would prove to them that you exist, once and for all.”

Jesus: “Uh-huh.”

Me: “I mean, you’re obviously qualified for such a thing. You did all of those miracles in the New Testament.”

Jesus [smirking]: “Physician, heal thyself.”

Me: “What?”

Jesus: “Never mind …”

Me: “Was that some kind of inside joke?”

Jesus: “Hardly. I’ve never found that one particularly funny.”

Me: “Okaaaay … but you still haven’t answered my question.”

Jesus: “About why I won’t do miracles for skeptics.”

Me: “That’s the one.”

Jesus: “There are many answers for that, but for one, let’s just say that I don’t want to make people atheists.”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Jesus: “Don’t worry, you heard me right the first time. I don’t want to make people even more skeptical than they already are. Many of them have a hard enough time with faith as it is. You wouldn’t believe how heavy a mustard seed can be.”

Me [frowning]: “You’re going to have to explain that one to me.”

Jesus [grinning again]: “I’ve heard that one before, too.”

Me: “Right. So …”

Jesus: “So … before I answer your question, let me pose a hypothetical: let’s say I was willing to be the wonder-worker that you want me to be. Let’s say I granted everyone a chance to witness a miracle of their choice. Maybe it’s restoring sight to a blind person, maybe it’s turning their family dog into a monkey. Seriously, any one miracle they wanted me to perform, I would do. Here’s my question: even if I were willing to do all of that, what difference would it make?”

Me: “Well, people would see the proof of you that they need to believe. Faith wouldn’t be so hard.”

Jesus: “It wouldn’t?”

Me: “Well, no. … Wait, are you doing the God-thing where you try to trick me?”

Jesus: “No, but I do think you’re putting too much stock in miracles. You mentioned the miracles in the gospels. What you didn’t mention was the number of times they made unbelievers out of people.

“I cast a demon out of a person, and my critics accused me of being demon-possessed. I healed a person on the Sabbath, and that only confirmed to onlookers that I was a Law-breaker who had pitted himself against God. I raised Lazarus from the dead, and that act of life-giving power spurred my enemies to conspire against me.”

Me: “But they also helped to give people faith! You healed people, and they followed you, like that blind man in John chapter 9.

Jesus: “That’s true, a lot of people not only found that I could heal them but also discovered what a life with me really meant. I did help a lot of people, but I think you’re giving my miracles too much credit. Some people came to me broken in more ways than one, even if they only publicly spoke of one source of pain. In some sense, they were aware of it–and because of that, I could do more for them to get rid of a disease or restore a useless hand.

But for others, they wanted signs from me not because they couldn’t believe but because they already believed something else. They were already entrenched in the notion that, whoever I was, whether it was a false prophet or the carrier of a demon, I couldn’t possibly be from God. In their case, they would have been better never to have seen a miracle at all.”

[Here is where I think for a long time.]

Me: “So you might not do miracles today …”

Jesus: “… because if I did, the people who saw them wouldn’t believe in me but rather, their twisted understanding of me. For these people, miracles wouldn’t prove my existence; they would simply prove the existence of a toxic distortion. The last thing I want to do is confirm a belief in someone who doesn’t exist.”

Me: “How?”

Jesus: “What do you mean?”

Me: “How could someone get to that point?”

Jesus: “Some people will just refuse to come. They’re addicted to the kind of evil that I came to kill. That’s one group among many.

“Another group consists of people who wouldn’t believe because that would mean submitting to the doctrine of their most-hated enemies. You know that churches are capable of telling people about My love even as they act against it. At times, you’ve been one of them, and … no, don’t keep apologizing. Your apologies are actually offensive to me after the first one.

“My point is, there are a lot of people who have been so hurt by those Christians that they haven’t yet reached the point where they understand that when they hurt you, they also hurt me. They either think I had something to do with it, or they’re just not in the place where they’re ready for me to be a part of their lives. And so if I were to do a miracle in front of them, they might reject it not because they hate Me but because they hate that church. They’d rather lick the fires of hell than admit that the Christians of their past were as right as they were hateful.”

Me: “If that’s the case, then what hope do they have? What if they die before they get to that point?”

Jesus: “What hope do they have? I’m alive. How much more hope do they need?”

Me: “But what if they die …”

Jesus [smiling]: “It’s like you said.”

Me: “Which part?”

Jesus: “I can do miracles.”

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2 thoughts on “How Miracles Make Skeptics

  1. Amber September 13, 2011 / 9:24 pm

    I really enjoyed this! It got me to thinking about a few things! Thanks for sharing this :). God Bless

    • Justin September 13, 2011 / 9:46 pm

      I’m glad! Hope you’re having a good night!

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