Bread – Skeptic

April 4, 2014


Readings for Friday, April 4, 2014, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Exod. 2:1-22; 1 Cor. 12:27-13:3; Mark 9:2-13; Psalms 95,102,107

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In our lesson today from Mark, we read:

 “And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them, and His clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus….and a voice came out of the cloud, ‘This is My beloved Son; listen to Him.’ And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain, He charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man has risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean.” Mark 9:1-10

How crazy is this? The inner circle of apostles, Peter, James and John, see Jesus transformed, visiting with the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah), hears God speak, and then hear Jesus talk about being silent until He “has risen from the dead.” And then they immediately go into skeptic mode, asking “what this rising from the dead might mean.”

Actually, this question might be more complex than first meets the eye. The question of “what this rising from the dead might mean” might be a question about how someone could rise from the dead. If so, then the apostles are skeptical of the power of God, even though they have just witnesses His power in the event known as the Transfiguration. This kind of skepticism denies the power of the supernatural, denies the holiness and awesomeness of God, denies the existence of anything which cannot be duplicated by man.

But the question of “what this rising from the dead might mean” may also be a question about the significance of the resurrection – what does Jesus death and resurrection mean to me, a sinner? If so, the apostles have taken as truth that Jesus can be raised from the dead; their question then becomes “so what?” This is a different form of skepticism, one which rejects Scripture and the Church’s teaching regarding the importance of the cross and the resurrection.

We are in the time of Lent, a time of contemplation as we march toward Easter, the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. To get there, of course, we have to march to and through His death on the cross, contemplating the sin, my sin, which required Him to die so that God’s justice could be met and His mercy extended to those who believe.

If you are not a Christian, which form of skeptic are you? Are you the kind who denies God and His power, His supernatural acts, His miracles? Or are you the kind who accepts the concept of a “higher power” and miracles, things that happen outside ourselves, but deny that Christ’s death and resurrection have any significance for you? Are you then then kind of skeptic who believes that Christ is irrelevant to a modern world?

If you are doubting, ask yourself if it is because you don’t believe in miracles or just don’t believe that Christ’s miraculous resurrection after His horrible death on the cross has any application to you and for you.

Whether you reject Christ because you don’t believe in the power of God (or even His existence) or you don’t believe that the Christ’s resurrection applies to you, you are a skeptic unto death.

“Skeptic unto death.” Has a hollow ring to it, doesn’t it? Has a certain hopelessness to it, doesn’t it?

If you find yourself in this category, you may want to reflect further on Easter. If you still don’t understand, ask for help from the Holy Spirit.

A “skeptic unto death” can always become a “believer unto life.” At least they can, until they die, then it is too late.

But there is still time. Act on it.

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© 2014 GBF

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