signs

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF A SIGN

(May 21, 2022) Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, reminds us a great truth regarding our almighty God…

There are almost 40 miracles of Jesus recorded in the four gospels and John mentions seven of them. The miracle of the feeding of the 5000 is so significant that all four gospel writers mention it… but there are some notable differences between John’s account and that of the others.

What a crowd gathered on the hillside that day. In John 6:10 we read that there about 5000 men. In his account, Matthew’s adds that there were also women and children present (Matthew 14:21).

Jesus and His disciples had gone there initially to relax and enjoy some privacy. Can you imagine, therefore, the stress the disciples would have felt when this great crowd arrived? Despite this ‘inconvenience’, we are told by Luke that Jesus preached to the crowds and healed those who were sick (Luke 9:11).

That day an amazing thing happened. With five small loaves and two small fish Jesus fed the hungry crowd and when they had eaten their fill, there was a surplus of twelve baskets of pieces of the five loaves. John wrote, ‘The people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did’ (6:14).

When Matthew, Mark and Luke referred to  miracles, they used the Greek word dunamis whichrefers to an act of power and force and it is the root of our English word ‘dynamite.’  

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DARE ASK ME FOR A SIGN

(December 10, 2019) Brian Bell reflects

It’s almost Christmas when Christians and churches celebrate the birth of Jesus who would become the Saviour of the world.

We’ll sing Christmas carols and choruses and refer to those scriptures that come naturally to mind at this time… from the gospels of Matthew and Luke and also Isaiah 7:14NLT, ‘All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).’

As I mediate on this Old Testament verse the background of Isaiah 7 comes to mind – God prompting Ahaz, the king of Judah, who was in a difficult situation to ask him for a sign… ‘Ask the Lord your God for a sign of confirmation, Ahaz. Make it as difficult as you want –’ (Isaiah 7:11 (NLT).

Now that’s an amazing dare by God – and, equally amazing, when Ahaz didn’t respond was God’s choice of a ‘difficult sign’ (v14).

I wonder… If God were to ask you to ask him for a sign – and you didn’t hesitate to ask – what would come to your mind?

This leads me to several ‘little seed thoughts’…

A Personal Sign
Reading verses 1- 6 of this chapter we get a fuller picture of the situation in which Ahaz found himself. Facing attack and a siege of Jerusalem, in addition to fear he was likely struggling with doubt. And God always knows how best to answer the doubts of his people – remember how God spoke to Elijah (1 Kings 19) and how the Lord Jesus dealt with Thomas (John 20). (more…)