Wednesday, January 18, 2023

What Are You, Jesus? Chicken?

Suggested Reading: John 4:1-26

In the final two installments of the Back to the Future trilogy, we discover that Marty McFly's fatal flaw is his need to prove himself when someone thinks he is a coward. Twice, Marty makes really bad decisions because he is called a coward and feels the need to prove himself. Toward the end of the final movie, Marty is sitting at a red light when a friend pulls up, wanting him to race. Initially refusing, Marty denies accusations that he is a coward but is met with the words, "Prove it." Only then do we learn whether or not Marty has learned his lesson.

While the need to prove he wasn't a coward was something for Marty to avoid, Jesus seemed fairly comfortable with proving himself, at least with the Samaritan woman in John chapter four. Jesus had made an outrageous claim: that he could give her living water which would spring up inside her to produce eternal life. Noticing that Jesus did not even have a bucket to draw from the well she responded, "Prove it." Technically, she responded by saying, “Sir, give me this water so I won’t get thirsty and come here to draw water” (John 4:15, HCSB). But essentially, she said, "if you can really do that then prove it." In the ensuing conversation, Jesus did. Jesus made an outrageous claim but he was willing to prove it.

Maybe, you're reading this today and you are curious about God but you aren't sure if God is even real. If that is you, I would encourage you to pray the cynic's prayer: "God, if you're really there, show yourself to me. If you're there, prove it." God wants us to trust him, but that is an entirely different thing than affirming the truth of a set of theological statements. God makes outrageous claims on our lives: that he can give us eternal life, that he can change our lives, that he can transform us. But God is willing to prove those claims if we will give him the chance.

For those of us who know Jesus, understanding this truth means we don't have to worry so much about convincing the lost that we are right so much as it means that Jesus will prove himself to them if we can point them toward him. We can follow the example of this Samaritan woman at the well who, having been changed by her encounter with Jesus, then went and told everyone in town what Jesus had done for her. She brought them to Jesus and let Jesus prove himself to them.

Today, Jesus is just waiting for someone to challenge him, "Prove it." If you give him a chance, he is more than willing.

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