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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

5/4/10 Voices From Beyond- Supernatural Testimonies from the Gospel of Mark

As Jesus was coming up out of hte water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." (Mark 1:10,11 at Jesus' baptism).

Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: "This is my Son, whom I love.  Listen to him!" (Mk. 9:7- at the transfiguration).

When he [the Gerasene demoniac] saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?" (Mk. 5:6,7)

Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth?  Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are-- the Holy One of God!" (Mk. 1:23,24)

It is very clear, that for Mark, the world beyond this one testifies to Jesus' divinity as the Son or "Holy One" of God.  It is clear, that for Mark the Father exists and is able to speak, and evil spirits exist and are able to speak.
But what if you don't believe such things?  What if you want to believe in Jesus, but don't want to believe in a spirit world beyond this one?  I would say, it is possible to beleive in Jesus as a good teacher- but then you have to say any miracles Jesus did, any claims made from above or below about his divinity, anything such as the bodily resurrection of Jesus is simply made up.  You would also have to get rid of any reference to Jesus as Son of God, or any claims Jesus made as divine.  This is what a group of "scholars"  from the Jesus Seminar (mainly Vanderbilt and Harvard Divinity School scholars) have done.  The effect of this is to make Jesus a good man and good teacher, but not divine.  They actually say that most of what Mark, Matthew, Luke, and especially John say about Jesus- and the most of the words Jesus says about himself are just made up after the fact.  In other words, they (the gospel writers- some of whom were eyewitnesses, all of whom had contact with eyewitnesses) were just lying to make Jesus look better than he ever claimed to be.  For these first century believers, there was no barrier or secularism that was blinding them to another, spiritual world.  For them the spirit world was just as real as the empirical world.  In our day many close their ears and are purposefully deaf to a voice from heaven or a voice from hell.  We want to believe that this life is only on three dimensions (mathematicians and astrophysicists say as many as ten dimensions exist-  Such limited thinking ignores much of our past and much of what others believe in the non-western world, as well as possibilities for our future. In the west, before 1492, many believed you would fall off of the world if you sailed far enough west.  All the experts held such a view.  Until 1992 many refused to believe in extra-solar planets (now 453 have been confirmed).  There is a world beyond- more than we can see.  It takes faith to believe it is real, and to listen and respond.  In some ways, that is the very essence of being Christian- believing the testimony given to us about Jesus, and then responding to that in both worship of Him and following Him.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the testimony that goes beyond humanity in your Word.  Give me ears to hear and a believing heart to respond.  Thank you that you offer us help beyond what we see.  Thank you for the hope we have by faith.

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