¶ But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know
neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.
The Sadducees, to whom Jesus was addressing in this verse (Matt. 22:29), were very religious. They were priests. They participated religiously in Temple customs. They observed all of the traditions of their forefathers. They practiced sacred rituals. They publicly recited well-known prayers. Yet…they did not know God, God’s Word, or the power of God. They were irrelevantly religious and completely disengaged with the power of God because did not ‘know’ the Scriptures — and perhaps sadly — they denied that there even was a supernatural which means that these highly religious people denied that there was a God! And the amazing thing about this exchange between the Christ and the Sadducees was that the One they were denying existed was the One who was talking to them!
The Sadducees denied the existence of angels, demons, miracles, and the resurrection of the dead (Matt. 22:23). Christ’s scolding of these Sadducees was not hate. It was said with deep and divine care (you are only truly loved by someone when they speak the truth to you). Jesus also showed the same care when He scolded another group, the very religious, scribes-
¶ And in His teaching He said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes
and like greetings in the marketplaces and have the best seats in the synagogues and
the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense
make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
And He said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened,
and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
The disciples of Jesus were told by Him that from now on they would see extraordinary (super natural) things. And they did. Some of them saw Jesus transfigured on Mount Hermon (Mark 9:2). Some of them saw the angels who removed the grave-stone from Christ’s empty tomb. All of them heard Jesus say things that no ordinary man could have known. All of them saw Jesus raise people from the dead, cast out demons, and give sight to the formerly blind (Acts 10:38).
Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father,
and He will at once send Me more than twelve legions of angels?
Sometimes the divinely supernatural is hidden from us in plain sight! It was only after Jesus displayed the greatest example of super natural miraculous power that the disciples could reflect back on their time of Christ and realise who He really was and how He could do what He did. Sometimes the divinely supernatural is hidden from us in plain sight! Jesus even told His disciples –
For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see,
and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
Someone once said that the best way to open our spiritual eyes is to shut our physical ones! Perhaps this is why so many people in the Bible saw what God wanted them to see when they were sleeping (Matt. 1:20; 2:12-13, 22).
¶ “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
After Christ greatly commissioned His disciples and ascended back to His father by being translated from this material realm into the supra-real realm, the first Christians saw many divinely super natural acts on their behalf. This included: a long-term lame man being immediately healed and able to walk (Acts 3:2-7); buildings being shaken as God the Holy Spirit entered it (Acts 4:31); the sick and the demonised being healed and set free (Acts 5:16); visions of heaven revealing the divine Son of Man standing at the right hand of God the Father (Acts 7:56); people who were physically afflicted by demons being delivered and healed (Acts 8:7); miraculous conversions of opponents of Christ who encountered the risen Christ (Acts 9:1-18); spiritual trances revealing new revelations of God’s power and grace (Acts 10:9-20); Holy Spirit inspired dreams giving supernatural directives (Acts 16:9); encouraging appearances of God the Son in times of hostile opposition (Acts 18:9); many formerly pagan idolaters turning to Christ and being healed from an apostle’s handkerchief or apron (Acts 19:12); large portions of a city’s witchcraft community collectively turning to Christ and publicly declaring their repentance (Acts 19:19); raising the dead back to life (Acts 20:9-10); and, a martyred apostle coming back to life after the local believers prayed for him (Acts 14:19; 2Cor. 12:2).
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
The early Christians were sensitive to the voice of God. Ananias, who prayed for the newly converted Saul of Tarsus, was told by the Spirit where to find Saul, what to say to him, and why it was important for him to do so (Acts 9:10-18). Sometimes followers of Christ are misled to believe that they need to “learn” how to hear the voice of God. There is no example of this need anywhere in Scripture. But there are, however, injunctions to seek the Lord (Deut. 4:29; 1Chron. 16:11; Ps. 34:10; 105:3-4; Isa. 51:1; 55:6; Matt. 6:33; 7:7).
It was John Calvin who wrote in his commentary on Ephesians that the reasons believers in his day do not experience the divinely supernatural, as it seems the early Christians did, was their lack of desire. This is what I now want to both remind you of and encourage you to do: seek God. Seek Him. Be open to Him. Pray that you might pray effectively. Ask God to confirm His Word in the hearts of those who need a supernatural encounter with God that might lead to their conversion. Perhaps even pray that God will speak to them in their dreams (since they might hear Him more clearly then without all of the distractions of being awake). Begin to take John Calvin’s advice and desire the super natural activity of God in your life. Pray then that you and I might eagerly desire spiritual gifts to accompany our witness and service (1Cor. 14:1).
And then, be still (Ps. 46:10). And use your spiritual ears. But there’s one more important aspect of super natural Christianity that we each need to give our attention to.
What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also;
I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.
I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.
First Corinthians 14:15, 18
On the first Day of Pentecost, after the Ascension of King Jesus (Acts 2:1-4), access to God the Father was thrown open to every by the filling of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:18). The Spirit-filled believer can approach God the Father confidently with their requests because the God the Holy Spirit has now transformed their soul into being a child of God (Heb. 4:16; Gal. 4:6). It was on that Day of Pentecost when Christ sent the Holy Spirit to regenerate, fill, baptise, and empower His believers — and the Holy Spirit continues to do this (Acts 2:39). The Apostle Paul was compelled to re-explain all this to the Corinthian believers (which we will examine this in our June-July Corinthians sermon series). Paul explained to the Corinthians that the Holy Spirit could lead the believer to pray in their mother-tongue (“with their mind”) and in a language that the Holy Spirit might give them (“praying in tongues” 1Cor. 14:15).
¶ Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
For we do not know what to pray for as we ought,
but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Super natural praying is always praying to God. Therefore, prayer is not adjuring angels, binding Satan, or decreeing or declaring a desired outcome to who – or whatsoever. Only God commands angels. Only God binds Satan. Only God decrees or declares a desired outcome (because this is an exclusively divine prerogative). But the record of Scripture and history is that something uniquely super natural happens when God’s people pray in the Spirit — quite literally: prison doors have burst open (Acts 5:19; 12:5-12); signs and wonders happen; and persecutors of Christians become Christian!
May Christ’s words in Matthew 22:29 never be said of us, and may our children, grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren never have it said of them — that we or they do not know the Scriptures or the (super natural) power of God!
Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.
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