Thousands upon thousands of people had just been fed with five loaves and two fish. Every man, woman, and child had had their physical appetite met by a miraculous act of God the Father’s provision through His Son Jesus (John 6:1-14). They were hungry, away from home, listening to and learning from the man who did miracles all throughout their region. Then, God provided. Miraculously provided.
The crowds crossed the sea to Capernaum in order to continue following Jesus. Scripture says that they knew Jesus did not cross the sea with the disciples (John 6:22), yet they found him outside of Capernaum when they crossed the sea. The disciples even saw Jesus walk upon the water.
The miracle-worker was still at work. Thousands fed with one boy’s lunch. A sea crossed on foot.
Jesus sees the crowds and makes the bold proclamation that He is in fact the one who brings eternal life, and that the miracles He has been doing are to point the crowds to God (John 6:29).
Then comes the craziest verse ever.
So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform?” – John 6:30
This is not a new crowd of people who say this to him. These are the people who were just fed miraculously, and who just deduced that Jesus did not take a boat to cross the sea yet still made it to the other side. This crowd had seen something amazing. We read the Bible with a background in church and this stuff doesn’t awe us or terrify us anymore. But think about it! JESUS FED THOUSANDS WITH ONE LITTLE MEAL. That would be like me going to the middle of Vernon with a Lunchable and calling everyone in town to come be fed, feeding everyone in town with my ham and cheese cracker stacks. Preposterous. Amazing.
Yet with this having happened just the day before, the crowds asked for a sign that Jesus was from heaven.
Yet, if we’re being honest, we can be doofuses too.
I saw God miraculously move in the lives of so many students this week, drawing them to salvation and renewed commitment to Him. Here I sit just three days later and I can feel the icy tentacles on my mind trying to convince me that God’s power stayed at Camp Chaparral. God did the miraculous and yet here I am asking for a sign.
This theme of questioning God despite the miraculous is all over Scripture.
This afternoon on my day off I was reading through part of Genesis. In Genesis 14, Lot (Abram’s nephew) is captured by a coalition of five kings. Abram brings 318 men with him, fighting back and overcoming these kings, rescuing Lot, and achieving the spoils of war.
After this miraculous victory, Abram says the following:
I have sworn to the Lord God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth – Genesis 14:22b
Abram is swearing about something in this verse that isn’t all that important to the point I’m trying to make, what I want you to notice is that Abram is acknowledging that the God who appeared to him two chapters prior is the Lord God Most High, the possessor of heaven and earth. Abram knows that victory came at the hand of God, not at the hand of Abram.
Fast-forward one chapter.
I’m not an Old Testament scholar so I don’t know exactly how much time has passed between the two chapters, but God here appears to Abram and promises him a son, an heir.
Then comes the crazy stuff.
And He (God) said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.” He said, “O Lord God, how may I know that I will possess it?” – Genesis 15:7-8
God promises him a son and land to possess.
Abram responds by questioning how he will know this will take place.
Maybe I’m reaching, I acknowledge that I could be wrong here. But it fascinates me nonetheless that Abram asks God more or less for a sign that He will be faithful.
Wouldn’t the military victory brought about in the previous chapter be that sign? Five kings against 318 men, and God gave victory to Abram.
Regardless of whether or not I’m reading too much into the story, the principle is true in my life.
I question God’s ability to provide and protect, right on the heels of Him showing me the miraculous.
Do you believe the promises of God? Have you seen the miraculous? If you have, are you all in with the Lord? Have you abandoned your own desires for the cause of Christ? Or are you asking for another sign?
If you are a follower of Jesus, then God has done the miraculous in your life.
Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins. – John 8:24
Here Jesus is saying to the crowds that if they don’t believe that He is the Messiah they will die in their sins. This doesn’t sound miraculous. But think about it inversely.
The fact that you have put your faith in Jesus, and thus have life instead of the death you deserve, is MIRACULOUS.
Acts 17:25 says that God supplies us with life, breath, and everything else.
Each day is a miracle.
Are you trusting in the character of God or are you coming off a miracle asking for a sign?
In His Name,
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