Friday, November 19, 2010
Proof of faith
This week's readings are from Luke 23:35-43.
It is a dramatic scene. Jesus is suffering terribly and dying on the cross. Crucified with two criminals and being mocked from the crowd and from one of the criminals.
"If you are the Christ - save yourself; He saved others - let him save himself; if you are the King of the Jews - save yourself."
Rulers, soldiers, even from one of the men being crucified next to him - the calls and jeers must have rung in Jesus' ears.
Yet he didn't answer any of them. He only answered them with silence.
Suddenly, the other criminal being crucified rebuked his fellow criminal by saying, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal."
Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
Jesus did not reply to all the others who challenged him to prove that he was the Christ but he replied to the one who was penitent and asked to be remembered.
That happens a lot in our world even today.
There are countless people who insist that there be proof of God before they will believe but are blind to the proof that is around them already.
God does not have to answer puffed-up, know-it-all's who insist on one evidence or another of their choosing before they believe.
And why should He? God created everything and now He has to prove something to one of his creations? Who is God here?
And they probably wouldn't believe it anyway.
But is there proof of faith?
Yes - there is.
You don't have to look far for proof. It is seen in the healing power of God's forgiveness and grace in the lives of those who accept him.
Alcoholics, drug addicts, murderers, every form of sinner who accepts Christ in their heart is transformed. Their lives are changed for the better. I've seen it.
The proof of faith is not with the rulers that challenge but with the penitent that seek forgiveness.
God will not answer haughty challenges but he will always listen to the contrite who seek Him.
Sinners like you and me that humbly seek God's forgiveness and get it. We who are weak and ask for God's help to change our lives and get the grace to change.
That's the proof of faith.
When we finally are able to kneel before God and admit to our sins and shortcomings and ask that God remember us and help us. Then He will hear us and help us. And if we remain faithful then someday we too will hear the words:
"Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
That will be ultimate proof and reward of faith.