If you have seen the movie “Bruce Almighty” then you might recognize this image. Bruce’s life is messed up and he starts to pray, “God, just show me a sign” and this truck pulls in front of him. Of course the obvious signs placed right before his face go unnoticed. It’s kind of a theme in the movie as there is a homeless guy that seems to appear everywhere holding a sign that he just still doesn’t get.
This happens to all of us. We pray for God to give us signs but we often ignore them. This is not a new concept. By the time we get to the 16th chapter of Matthew’s gospel, we’ve seen many miraculous signs. However the Pharisees and Sadducees still didn’t believe them.
“And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.”
In fact, the history of Jesus and many of his miracles are recorded in non Christian texts, outside of the Bible. Many of the documents that confirm what we read in the Bible corroborate the historical evidence of Jesus the man. But Jesus points to the “sign of Jonah” that will be the only proof for some people. That for three days and three nights he would be ‘in the belly of the earth’ and then rise again.
Interesting enough, all the non-biblical accounts of Jesus confirm almost everything we read about him until this point. Other texts do confirm the tomb was found empty in three days but most claim the body was stolen and buried elsewhere. However, there are a few facts that non-biblical texts do confirm about the post resurrection time period.
The bible claims that Jesus was seen by over 500 people after the resurrection. Now not all of them are named but certainly the leaders of the movement are all named and followed. In every case but one (mentioned later), these men (and some women) went to harsh and cruel deaths holding fast to what they had witnessed. Had it been a hoax or a lie… had they really taken and hidden the body… someone would have cracked under the extreme torture they experienced. But they didn’t. Because this was the “sign of Jonah” that Jesus had described earlier.
The one exception to the cruel deaths is John. Instead he was exiled where he eventually wrote Revelation as a response to a vision he had.
The interesting thing is that some people will simply ignore the signs. When Jesus asked his disciples (and specifically Peter) who He was… “Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”
It is the Holy Spirit that opens our eyes to the signs that are right in front of our face. Until the Spirit opens our eyes and quickens our heart, we will just be like Bruce, ignoring the signs that are right in front of us.
Don’t be like Bruce. If you don’t see the signs, pray for your eyes to be opened to them. They are all around us still to this day.