Matthew 12:38–41: 38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
Jesus’ death and resurrection, if real, is the ultimate trump card. It puts to rest all doubts. It demonstrates God existence, goodness, justice, mercy, grace, and love all at the same time and triumphs over our doubts about him and our future.
He’s the proven king. No further proof is necessary. Whenever we question his love, faithfulness, and goodness, all we have to do is look at the cross and an empty tomb.
In late summer of 2014 after preaching a sermon on going “all in,” a man in our church asked if he could meet with me. He was wrestling with doubts concerning the existence of God and struggling with the idea of God’s love. As we sat in a little pizzeria, this man elaborated upon the brokenness of his life. It was truly tragic to hear of the ups and downs, his 17-year-old son’s seemingly needless death from an infection that should have been caught and cured, and his own recent diagnosis with pancreatic cancer. These are just the dramatic highlights. There was so much pain.
He frustratingly questioned, “If all this is Bible stuff is true, why won’t God just prove that he is real!? Why won’t God just prove he loves me!?”
After listening for a while, I finally responded, “What do you want God to do? What should we ask for? Should we ask for the third car that drives by the front of this shop to be purple? Would that settle it for you? Would God producing a purple car put to rest all your pain and communicate to you that the death of your son and your recent diagnosis were all part of God’s good and grand redemptive plan? Would a purple car driving by sufficiently put to rest for all time in your mind that God loves you?” He smiled and said, “No.”
I continued, “What kind of proof would satisfy your desire for God to prove himself to you? See God has already proven his existence and his love for you. He did it when he sent his son to die on the cross and rise again as the payment for your sins. What you are struggling with is not a proof yet to be given, but a proof already given. You don’t need to look forward for God to do something, you need to look back at what he has already done in a historical event and determine whether or not you believe that it was real. Because, if God Almighty sent his son to die for you and rise again then any other proof would be trivial compared to that.”
He nodded and then I continued, “Also, I have a serious question for you. What would you have given to save your son?” “Anything,” he said. “I would have done anything!”
“Then, for God to willingly give up his son for you, a Father who loved his son more deeply than we can imagine, what does that tell you not only about his existence, but about his love for you?”
We prayed and he went home.
That next Sunday, he came down front and said, “I’m all in,” and he was never the same.
We would do well to remember:
1. Hardships prove the presence of evil not the absence of good.
2. God has proven himself already in the sign of the prophet Jonah.
If Jesus is real, if Jesus is God’s son, if Jesus really died and rose again, then we need to look no further to know God is real, God loves us, and heaven is the promised land for all who have placed their faith in him.
He proved himself when suffering at the hands of evil men. He proved himself in enduring the darkness and gloom of an earthly grave for three days. He proved himself in breaking the chains of sin and death and rising again victorious for us and for his glory.
Don’t let a world that tries to pull slight of hand tricks, getting us to focus on one thing while something else is happening, fool you. Don’t let degree-speaking haters, unsubstantiated sound bites, Facebook posts and tweets, or history channel specials and ABC mini-series on the Bible that contain a lot of truth mixed with substantial error throw you off. Don’t let the enemy pull your gaze off our gloriously proven savior.
Jesus died and rose again. He is the Proven Savior.