The Year of Public Favor, Part 3: The Credentials of the Messiah, or the Miracles of Jesus -- By: David J. MacLeod
EMJ 12:2 (Winter 03) p. 215
The Year of Public Favor, Part 3:
The Credentials of the Messiah, or the Miracles of Jesus1
Part I: An Exposition of Matthew 11:2-6
People are not made to live without hope. It’s like oxygen to them. “Take oxygen away and death comes by suffocation; take hope away and death comes by despair.”2 “Christianity,” said Nelson Bell, “is the religion of hope. Christ is the door of hope.”3 The biblical writers agree. The apostle Paul goes so far as to say that the non-Christian lives without hope. Those without Christ are “without hope in the world” (Eph. 2:12). People in the ancient world used the word hope much the way people do today.4 By hope, they meant their own projections for the future. The content of that hope depended on a person’s evaluation of his/her own possibilities. In other words, it meant, “wish.” It was wishful thinking, as when a girl asks her friend, “Are you going to marry Johnny?” and her friend replies, “I hope so.” This kind of hope is uncertain and easily deceived. In the Bible, however, hope means “confident expectation.”5 It is not an empty
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consoling dream of my own imagination; rather, it is fixed on the promises of God about the future.
There is, however, a dark side to faith and hope, and it is doubt. Doubt rises in the strongest of believers, because the believer still has indwelling sin, what Scripture calls “the flesh” (Rom. 7:18, 25). And the flesh, says William Kelly, “is always an unbelieving nature. [It] never has confidence in God.”6 While my own nature is the root of doubt, the external object of doubt is God. “God does not always act as we expect.”7
Charles Swindoll says this kind of doubt comes at the believer from three angles.8 First, doubt comes when God permits what we think he should never permit. As Rabbi Harold Kushner put it, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”9 When a recently married daughter is brutally murdered, or ...
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