`And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” Mark 16:17-18 (NIV)
Jesus gives some words of description. He wanted us to know how to distinguish whether or not a person believes in Him. So He gives us these words. Do they describe the people who wear His name today? Do they describe us?
Does it seem like we are going through a period of time where signs and wonders are few and far between? Are there already a great number of Christians and believers in God? Have we sufficient instruction on the kind of people we should be? Is our God an incredibly great and powerful God? Can He move in all the miraculous ways He says He can? Is He that powerful? Is He God Almighty?
If we do claim to believe in an all-powerful God then should we expect to see His mighty arm at work in His creation? Should those who believe in Him be more accustomed to seeing miracles happen around them? Does the Holy Scriptures give us any hope of witnessing these signs and wonders ourselves?
Are there many truths about God and His Son that we hold nominally without really taking the thought to heart? Are there certain issues we feel strongly about, but prefer not to apply to ourselves for fear of coming up short? Could our faith in miracles and powerful signs from Heaven be one of these areas for us? Where do we stand? Are we blown away each and every day by the amazing and powerful expressions of God in our lives? Does this description Jesus gives accurately describe us today? How many demons did we expel today? What strange tongues will we speak this afternoon? When was the last time we picked up a deadly serpent or drank some poison without any ill effects? Who have we healed lately by placing our hand upon them and praying?
It is true that Jesus uses familiar language and examples to describe supernatural states, causes and effects. We could say that He was using merely a figure of speech. We could try to make His words mean whatever we want with them. But should we try to take away any pertinence they could hold for us? Should we rather try to use any instruction to lead us closer to Him and to need Him more?
Therefore, for whatever reason Jesus gave us these ways to recognize His true believers, could we take them to heart? Could we attempt to put ourselves into the picture? Could we seek to have these qualities? Even if they are far above anything we could ever hope for, could we pray earnestly and ask our Lord to make up for our inadequacy? Could we pray from help from above to convert what we are into what He describes here? Could our hearts yearn so hard to be this kind of believer that we sacrifice any and all things that would prevent us from being that close to Him?
Dear Jesus, with Your words You set a very high standard. Perhaps the qualities You mentioned seem more packed with supernatural power than our fallen nature is capable of. But let us shoot for the stars. Let us come to You to find a way to make us into that kind of believer. If we must dedicate the rest of our lives and give up all kinds of comforts and earthly desires, then let it be. But please do not let us lose our hope of becoming the kind of believer You seek. Help us, hold us and guide us closer to You each day. With our Lord as our strength and our eyes and hearts set firmly upon You, then all things are possible. Increase our faith today we pray.