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Read Matthew 11.
Can you prove the existence of God?
Can you prove that the Bible is true–that it is God’s Word, as we claim it is, not just a human book?
These seem like reasonable questions, don’t they?
But, they are not reasonable questions at all. They are expressions of unbelief, not genuine inquires from open hearts that want to know God.
How do I know? Jesus said so here in Matthew 11:12-19.
The greatest evangelist in history, other than Christ himself, is not Billy Graham, or John Calvin, or Charles Haddon Spurgeon, or anyone else. It is John the Baptist, according to verse 11.
Yet despite his witness and the testimony of “all the Prophets and the Law” (v. 13), God’s kingdom “has been subjected to violence” (v. 12b). In other words, “violent people” (v. 12c) have been attacking God, his authority, Lordship, dominion, and truth.
That assault continues today. One way unbelievers attack the Lord and his kingdom is by setting new standards: “Do this” or “prove that,” says the unbeliever, “and then I will consider believing in Jesus.” In verses 17-19, Jesus pointed out the ever-shifting requirements for faith that unbelievers set up for us. The point of Jesus’s proverb, “We played the pipe for you and you did not dance,” is that people want to be in control of the conditions under which they will believe:
- If they demand proof of the resurrection, you’d better provide it to them or they will continue to scoff at our faith.
- If they think the Bible is full of errors, you could answer every problem verse they mention and they’ll just come up with more.
Jesus said that he himself and John were the perfect set of examples of this fickle unbelief (vv. 18-19). John and Jesus were totally on the same page in their faith and mission but they couldn’t have been more different as Jewish men. John was strict, austere, and took no prisoners in his life and approach to others. But unbelievers said, “He’s demon possessed!” (v. 18). By contrast, Jesus flouted the conventional wisdom about how you had to live to please God. He didn’t live in disobedience to God’s law but he did willfully disobey many of the false “standards” that Pharisees and others tried to get him to live by. Yet, unbelievers in his world said he was “‘a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’” So neither Jesus nor John could satisfy the objections of those who rejected the gospel.
Because they were not genuine objections; they were excuses for unbelief.
Unbelief remains the same today. Can you prove the existence of God? Yes, creation and conscience prove it daily. Unbelievers, however, reject that proof because they want dance music, not funeral dirges (v. 17).
Can you prove that the Bible is true? Yes. Your life and mine daily prove the truth, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). But this isn’t good enough for the fallen.
Believers should not dance to the music of unbelief. People don’t genuinely come to Christ when we dance to their tune. They need a spiritual transformation–a new birth–not better answers or arguments. Those who become believers do so because “the Son chooses to reveal” the Father (v. 25) not to “the wise and learned” (v. 25) but to those who believe like “little children” (v. 25).
Like Jesus and John, our job is to faithfully explain the message and call people to repent. Our job is to extend the invitation that Jesus gave to “Come to me… and I will give you rest” (v. 28).
Is there someone you can share this message of hope with today?