A tale of two cities

Tale of two citiesWith an apology to Charles Dickens for the theft of his title, rather than Paris and London, I’m thinking of Sychar and the Decapolis (which is actually ten cities).

In one city Jesus did no miracle other than tell a woman about her past. In the other cities Jesus delivered a demon possessed man in a spectacular manner. It is interesting to note that where Jesus did no miracle, he was received and the people believed. In the other they could not wait to get Jesus to leave them alone.

Often I am tempted to think that it would be so much easier for me and others to believe if only we saw some incredible miracles like the ones recorded in the gospels. But would it? Did the people seeing the overt miracles show any increased tendency to believe?

I am reminded that we cannot say that there are no miracles around us. Is there any question that a changed life is in itself a miracle? Maybe the change is so gradual that it seems a natural process, but the fact that I am not what I was is testimony to God’s power.

We must be careful not to ignore the clues all around us. Like the Samaritans in Sychar, we need to be listening for the truth in what we hear and act upon it. If Jesus is correct and one day we will all give an account for our belief and consequent actions, we cannot lightly dismiss the evidence in favor of Jesus being who he claimed to be.

We need to come to grips with the fact that some will see miracles and hear truth and walk away in complete rejection. We can be cavalier about this and offer our proof texts about election and predestination and wash our hands of it. Or, we can be like Jesus and weep for those who reject the truth. We can turn up our noses at those who most loudly oppose Christianity or we can pray for them and implore God to intervene and have mercy upon them.

Yes, we should be confident that God knows who will accept and who will reject his offer of salvation, but he sees fit to keep that knowledge from us. Therefore should hope and pray that all accept Jesus, even while knowing that all will not.

We should stand waiting by the roadside with the loving father for the prodigal to come home.