Trying to catch the sun in a Mason jar.

kenyan sunrise

Mark 12:18-27

“…because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God…” v. 24

Trying to comprehend God with intellect alone is like trying to catch the sun in a mason jar. It’s a mistake to assume that human reason alone can grasp the things of God. How can the finite (us) ever grasp the infinite (God)? We think we are so clever in our search for ultimate truth. This is why many , so called, intellectuals cannot find God. There is a type of intelligence that is not intelligent at all. It is pride based on a tremendous delusion. The delusion is that I can reason my way into the divine presence. The premise this operates on is simple, “If it doesn’t make sense to me, then it cannot be true.” or “If I cannot reason it out intellectually then it cannot exist.” The sheer arrogance of this is laughable. There was a time when human beings were able to accept a reality larger than themselves, beyond full comprehension. But today we are so puffed  up with ourselves, that we live in constant fulfillment of Paul’s words in Romans 1 “Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of an immortal God for images…”  We think we are gods because we invented Iphones. It is this attitude that keeps us from God. I don’t ask you to throw your brain out in the search. There is a place for reason in the search, but if we are going to search for God we must go beyond that. This is the part that becomes uncomfortable for us. Reason equals control. We want control. Faith surrenders control and finds God. In our text today we see an example of the failure of human reason to fully embrace God, and we see the missing elements that can aid us in our search.

A group of Sadducees approach Jesus with a riddle. They want to show how belief in the afterlife is irrational. They give him a scenario in which a woman, who has been widowed seven times in this life, dies. They ask, logically, “in heaven, whose wife will she be?” The Sadducees, are like many today, who believe in religion, but not in the supernatural. They see faith as something that only helps in this life, because they do not believe in an afterlife. They come, like many with their riddles of human logic, hoping to trip Jesus up intellectually. Today’s culture would have loved them. Jesus, once again, instructs his critics. He does so, not with angry accusation-a lesson in itself for all the angry Christians out there-but by pushing them beyond the realm of human reason. He says to them, “You are mistaken, because you do not know the scriptures nor the power of God.” In other words, the finite cannot reason with the infinite without a little help from beyond the borders of our own concocted brilliance. We cannot know God without faith in his word and in his power. We need both to help us answer our questions. I cannot go with one to the exclusion of the other. To read the Bible without relying on God’s power will produce nothing but a head full of ancient facts and a lot of confusion. To pray for the power of God in my life, without submitting to the direction of God’s word will make me a superstitious train wreck, flitting from one spiritual experience to another until I burn myself out. God knows we cannot figure him out intellectually. He wants us to bring our intellect to the table. But he has given us great help in his word and in the experience of his power to lead us where we cannot take ourselves. The great news is that his word and his power are most clearly seen and known in the living word. “The word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus Christ is the word and power of God in human form. He is the way, the truth, and the life. Are you looking for God? Are you frustrated with all the unanswered questions? Is your brain tired from trying to figure out who made God? or Why does evil exist? or What is the purpose of life? I’m not saying you should stop asking the questions. I’m just inviting to admit that God is larger than your intellect and you cannot grasp his existence without the help of faith. I’m inviting you to look deeply into his word and ask for his power to help you find him. Don’t demand proof. Don’t put God on trial. You will get nowhere fast that way. Humble yourself and he will lift you up. Look to Jesus Christ. Seek him in the pages of scripture, and pray for him to reveal himself to you. Here’s an experiment. Read the gospel of John. Only read one chapter a day. As you read ask God to show you two things; 1. What does this say about God? 2. What does this say about me? Don’t look for hidden codes or silly trivia. Look for God. If you do this it will take 21 days. As you seek God’s word and power you just may find there’s more to your life than you imagined. It just may be the greatest three weeks of your life.

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