ATP Blog 39
What does it take for you to believe something or someone? Most would say, a certain amount of trust first, then perhaps evidence. These people who had just been fed miraculously, and had been rejected the opportunity to crown Jesus as King, were sceptical about His claims to being the Messiah. You will notice in the gospel of John, that Jesus Christ presented evidence in many different ways that He was (and is) the fulfillment to Old Testament prophecy regarding the Saviour of the world. As we have seen so far, the greatest obstacle was the traditions and teachings of the Jewish nation. How often is that the case with us, that our traditions and teachings cause confusion regarding the truth of God’s Word?
Request “Then what sign do You do that we may see and believe You?” Most of us who have read the entire gospel of John, would respond by asking these people if they are blind or short of memory. How many signs would it take for them to believe? Many other times in the gospels, people ask Jesus for signs (miraculous wonders that no one else has done to prove what He is saying).
Signs + or -? Are signs good or bad? Should we be asking God for a sign? Asking for a sign is a symptom of doubt and distrust. We all have our moments, but the Bible paints a negative picture of people who asked God for signs. In Judges, Gideon asked for a sign. God gave him the sign, but then urged him to trust God more. In Isaiah, Hezekiah asked for a sign, which God provided, but was the beginning of his downfall into pride. In Mark 8, the religious leaders ask Jesus for a sign. This time, Jesus rolled His eyes and declared, ‘This generation will not be given a sign.’ In fact, He even called those who asked for a sign ‘an evil and adulterous generation.’ (Matthew 12:38-39) God has given plenty of signs to discern truth from fiction. Matthew 16 describes physical signs of the times. Luke 11 describes the sign of Jonah (3 nights in the belly of a whale) for evidence of Jesus’ claim, and His upcoming resurrection.
Response The people pointed to the miraculous bread given to them in the wilderness under Moses. Jesus had to correct them, saying, “It was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.” Notice that Jesus did not say, God gave you the manna, but that God the Father gives you the true bread (referring to Jesus Christ) that brings life. The point is, there are enough signs provided in both Scripture and Nature, to discern the truth. What will you do with the evidence? They were looking to Jesus for signs, when they should have been seeing the evidence, and looking to Jesus for life.
Signs of Life What do you look to Jesus for? For some it is direction (perhaps only when times are difficult or bad). For some it is encouragement. For others it is moral guidance. “The bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Do not look for signs, but for life. Signs are useful periodically to boost our faith, but must not become a distraction (like it was for this crowd) from seeking life from the One and only life-giver.