I like Blue Collar Comedy. One of my favorites is Bill Engvall. What Engvall is most famous for is his catch phrase “Here’s your sign”. His explanation of this: “I just hate stupid people. They should have to wear signs that say, ‘I’m Stupid’. That way you wouldn’t rely on them, and you wouldn’t ask them for nothing.”
Here are some of his best:
- (In a hallway waiting for an elevator) A stranger approaches and asks, “Excuse me, are these the elevators that go up?” Engvall replies, “No, these are the ones that go side to side. The ones that go up are down the hall.” Engvall then explains to the audience, “He walked away!”
- Engvall’s wife (Gail) says, “Why do they put those [deer crossing] signs up? Deer can’t read.” Engvall’s reply: “No, but they can recognize pictures of themselves. Here’s your sign.”
- (Engvall and a buddy were getting off of a boat with a string full of bass) A stranger asks, “You catch all those fish?” Engvall’s reply: “Nope. Talked ‘em into givin’ up. Here’s your sign.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could count on a sign to direct us in every decision? But life is not that way. The Bible says, “we live by faith not by sight.” (2 Cor. 5:7). We cannot always depend on God to drop down a neon sign from heaven to point the way. And even if He did, would we really follow it?
In John 6 Jesus is talking to a crowd of people who have followed Him after He miraculously fed 5000 of them. They ask Him, "What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"
It strikes me as odd that this crowd would ask for a sign in order to believe. They started following Him because they had heard of His miraculous signs or seen Him perform them. The experienced His miraculous feeding of the 5000. His disciples had seen Him walk on the water. Now they ask for a sign. Wasn’t all that enough? Do they really need more evidence to believe?
Elsewhere Jesus said, "A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah." (Matt. 16:4). To the crowd in John 6 Jesus answers, "Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
Jesus is the sign: His life, His death, His resurrection. Nothing else is needed. Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.”
Miracles do not ensure faith. Many have seen the signs but refuse to believe. In fact, sometimes miracles can be a hindrance to faith because people look for the sign, rather than looking to the One to whom the sign points. Too many times I have heard people say, “If God would only do _________ for me, I would believe.” Only to make up another condition if that sign occurs.
When will we finally stop searching for a sign and simply trust the One who has already revealed Himself so clearly in Jesus Christ.?Today’s post is third in a series from John 6 on why some people believe and others do not. Read Do You Believe the Impossible? to set the stage for today’s topic. The first reason why some do not believe was The Spiritual Nature of Jesus' Mission. The second was The Gracious Nature of Jesus' Offer.