There are some great stories out of Hollywood that involve counterfeits or fraudulent items. The original items are typically incredibly valuable and there is a lot at stake when they are exchanged for the stand-in. I recently came across the story of the Stone of Scone (you read that correctly). Have you heard of it? I doubt it. It’s not a story you may come across often, but it’s interesting none-the-less.
The Stone of Scone is a smooth slab of sandstone that was used during the coronation of Scottish monarchs and is believed by some to be the same stone used by Jacob in Genesis 28:18 (So Jacob got up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had placed as a support for his head, and set it up as a memorial stone, and poured oil on its top.). However, deep in our history books, when the English King Edward I won a decisive victory at the Battle of Dunbar (1296), it was stolen for use in English coronations. During World War II, the stone was hidden for protection, but was broken into two pieces in 1950 by some unlucky students of the University of Glasgow as they attempted to return it to Scotland.
The story gets especially interesting when one takes into account that many Scots believe the true stone was hidden from King Edward I by the monks of the Scone Abbey, and that he actually took a fraudulent stone by mistake. There are questions as to who might have the correct story, or if anyone at all knows the truth. When someone begins to question reality, explanations of what had occurred become legends lost to time in which everyone decides that the truth cannot be found out.
This happens within the Scriptures as well. At times, folks show up to the Scriptures and plan to walk away with something valuable, but instead, they may walk away with a counterfeit. The truth is being held back by Satan’s schemes to cloud our vision of who God is.
Yesterday, I preached out of Jonah, chapter two. I love that book for so many reasons, and one of the biggest is that a beautiful theme emerges – God can take a place of death and use it to save your life. In Jonah 2, we see a story in which a man survives for three days in the belly of a fish/whale. This is miraculous by certain standards, but even more so, we see this fish accomplishing God’s will and bringing the prophet back in line with the way that God had planned for him to follow.
Jonah could have been saved from the storm on driftwood, with another boat in the vicinity, or just being near enough the shore to swim the difference. But that would be too open-ended. Instead, God ensures that Jonah would have no question as to who was behind his salvation. God used this beast’s stomach less as a tomb and more as a womb to protect the man’s life and deliver him to safety once the timing was perfect.
However, there are many Christians who read this story and find the miracles to be too unbelievable to accept. Therefore, they read the details as some parable that has been mistaken for reality, or they manufacture some other means to walk away from the text without embarrassing themselves too badly as believers in the miraculous.
The concern, however, is that the theme mentioned above is the foundation of the Scriptures and the work that God has and will do in relation to humanity for the remainder of time – that is until He returns. God brought Jonah from this monstrosity’s stomach, acid and all, to dry land and useful ministry. This is an incredible blessing – death to life. In the life of our Savior, Jesus Christ was lead to a place of death, on the cross, and purchased life for all who would receive Him (1 Peter 2:24).
If we do not accept the miraculous event of the symbol (whale’s belly for 3 days and delivered – Jonah 2), how can we accept the miraculous event of the sacrifice we place our hope in (cross and resurrection – 1 Corinthians 15)? I completely understand the temptation of those who receive the counterfeit Gospel, because there are many elements which try and keep us from understanding who our God is, but we must always seek to dispel the mist which clouds our view of Him.
So take a moment today and process the Gospel which you understand to save your soul. Is it God’s truth as delivered in the Scriptures, or is it a fraud? If you have not received Christ as your Savior, ask yourself if the answer to your questions in life is out there. If so, is it simply man-made and naturalistic, or is it a God who cannot be stopped by the Laws of nature? As for me, I choose to believe that my salvation comes from a God who miraculously brings life from places of death. And I believe that one day, when my body cannot function any longer, He will raise me once again into eternal life. That same power is available to you as well.
Love you all,
Young Adult Minister – Evan McNeff