Watching the weather has always been a part of my life. My dad and I used to like looking out the window, standing in the middle of a field, or looking off the bow of a ship to talk about (and predict) the weather patterns. I still remember the age-old sailor's saying that he (and, apparently, my grandpa) used to quote. "Red sky at night is a sailor's delight. Red sky in the morning - sailor take warning."
One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that He show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove His authority. He replied, "You know the saying, 'Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.' You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don't know how to interpret the signs of the times! Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign, but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah. " Then Jesus left them and went away. (Matthew 16:1-4 NLT)
Walking with God is a lot like learning to read and follow the weather patterns. It's about reading the "signs" that God gives us. I was just talking with a friend this week about what "signs" each faith system or religion offers to say it is true. When you investigate most of them, though, you may find yourself as disappointed as my friend is about the weather.
God has given us many signs of His presence and communication to us through the ages. He sent great miracles that were so far outside of the natural order that non-believing scientists today are still trying to come up with "explanations" how such things could have happened "naturally." He sent prophets with those great miracles to explain what He wanted to say to us - giving us His message through their mouth and writings. He sent His Son to perform miracles, teach us, then give the ultimate sacrifice of love so that we may live. How do we know that this is true? He gave us a sign.
When Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, he wasn't just doing another miracle. He wasn't capping off all the other miracles with a "grand finale." He was fulfilling the sign that would confirm for us who he was and what he was doing. He is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, and God Incarnate (in the flesh). He was sent to die (taking the punishment for our sin) then offer true life to all who want to come. When we do, he reconciles us to God and gives us His Spirit as a "down payment" in this life - so we may live life abundantly.
Can you read the signs?