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Read Introduction to John

 

48 Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.”

In this verse Jesus turned to the motivation of people in their desire to see a healing. This was not a rebuke to the royal officer only but to all the people attending the event.

Unless you people see [plural] signs and wonders,

Although this rebuke was spoken directly to the official, Jesus also addressed it to all the people around him. “You people see” is plural. Jesus not only rebuked the official but everyone who heard His statement. Anyone with a distorted faith needs to understand what Jesus said.

“Sign” is an important word in the gospel of John. It is often linked to “wonders” in the Bible. “Wonders” does not occur elsewhere in this gospel. The word “sign” means a miracle that points out something very important. A “wonder” is something that startles the viewer. A sign points out the light on something not understood about Jesus, but a wonder indicates the effect it has on someone viewing a miracle.

you will by no means believe.”

Jesus censured everyone for wanting signs and miracles before they would believe. They were more interested in a wonder worker than a Lord. Jesus rebuked them for superficiality.

Although signs and wonders are good in themselves, it is not valid to view them from the standpoint of a curiosity seeker. Sensationalism is never Jesus’ method.

PRINCIPLE:

Faith based on sensation seeking is not genuine faith.

APPLICATION:

There are people today who seek signs and wonders before they can believe. They have difficulty in accepting the simple Word of God as true. This curious or superficial approach to spiritual truth is a real problem today. This is flawed faith. Faith built on the spectacular is not genuine faith.

Faith based solely on miracles is not sufficient. We should not confuse faith based on signs and wonders with genuine faith. We are not in a place where we can dictate the terms to God. Signs and wonders are only the starting point of our faith.

To condition our belief in Christ on our personally seeing miracles is to diminish trust in the Word of God and the word of Christ. God’s Word needs no corroboration. Signs in themselves are insufficient for salvation. Faith in the visible or spectacular is not genuine faith.

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