I just preached on John 6. This is the account where Jesus feeds around 20,000 people with only 5 loaves and 2 fish. What happens next is the people chase Jesus down. Imagine a throng of 20,000 people following you to your next destination! The people aren’t interested in putting their faith in Jesus though, they are simply looking for him to do another miracle for them. He wants to be their God and their friend, but they only want him to be their vending machine…
We often ask, “Why doesn’t God make himself more obvious?” If God did a miracle for me, then I’d truly believe in him. If God showed up like Princess Leia in a hologram image and spoke to me in a booming voice, then I’d believe in him!
First off, I don’t think you would. It’s not a lack of evidence that causes most to not believe, it’s that people don’t want to obey someone else’s will, even if it is God’s. You’d likely end up like the thousands who were following Jesus in John 6, but turned away when he didn’t cater to their request to do yet another miracle. God would talk to you in the hologram, but you’d be upset if he didn’t pay your mortgage for you. It brings up the question, how many miracles does God have to do in order to get you to put your faith in him? It seems like the answer is always, “Just one more!”
What I find interesting about most of the miracles in the Bible, as well as some in contemporary life, is that they seem to lead to more of a superficial faith than a faith of true depth and substance. I think it is so easy for us to worship miracles, rather than worship God. What good did the feeding of the 20,000 in John 6 accomplish for those people? All it did was create an appetite for more miracles and an expectation and sense of entitlement that Jesus was a magician meant to entertain them.
All the while, Jesus is on bended knee, professing his love for us, proposing marriage, desiring the ultimate level of friendship and relationship with us, yet we are ticked off because he won’t give us more free fish & chips. Let the irony of that sink in…the God who created the universe cares enough to come and die on the cross for your sins so that you can spend eternity with him in heaven, yet we are angry and turn our backs on him because he won’t do yet another miracle for us. Something seems a little backward there.
An illustration will hopefully help:
My daughter is 1 right now. As she turns four years old in a few years, imagine her saying to me one night, “Daddy, will you prove to me that you’re really my Dad? Will you get a DNA test done? I just need to know for sure, I’m having some doubts.”
What would my response to this be? First and foremost, my heart would be deeply hurt. I’d ask her, “Lexi, all I’ve ever done is love you, what would give you any reason to doubt that I’m really your dad? What else would motivate me to love you the way I do? Is not the relationship I desire to have with you and all I do that flows from that relationship proof enough for you?”
But out of love for her and her peace of mind, I would get the DNA test done and show her the positive results. “Whew” she sighs, “thanks Daddy.” But then the next night when I go to tuck her in she says, “Daddy…can you do another DNA test to prove that you’re really my Dad? I’m having doubts about the other one you did. Those are easily tampered with you know. Someone may have swapped out your sample. If you do another one, then I’ll really believe you’re my daddy.”
At this point, not only would my heart be even further broken but my response would be something like, “Lexi, I love you and I don’t want to spend the rest of our relationship trying to prove my identity to you. I just want to be your father, I just want to love you, I just want to spend time with you, I don’t want to always have to jump through another hoop for you, it’s simply no way to have a loving relationship. I think I’ve shown you enough of who I am; will you simply trust me and love me in return and be my daughter?”
Stop asking God to prove himself. Instead, reflect back on all the ways he already has, on the cross and in the empty tomb, in his beautiful creation, and in the once or twice in a lifetime miracles that you’ve seen him perform in your life. Thank him for these things, submit to his reign in your life, and walk with your Father in love.
Host of the The Flip Side Podcast
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