By Michael Harley
“And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:30-31
The book of John was written for a specific purpose and that purpose is revealed in Chapter 20, verses 30 and 31. The book of John was written for Jews, so that Jews would heed the signs, believe that Jesus is their Christ because of the signs, and that believing the Jews would have life in His name.
These signs would include turning water into wine, healing the nobleman’s son from the point of death, healing a certain man with an infirmity thirty eight years, feeding the five thousand men with five barley loaves and two small fish, walking on the sea, and raising Lazarus from the dead among others. And these signs were directed toward the Jews “For Jews request [demand/ require] a sign, and [Greeks seek after wisdom;”] 1 Corinthians 1:22
Jews have required a sign since the nation of Israel was called out of Egypt. When God spoke to Moses and commanded him to go to the nation of Israel and save them out of Egypt, Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’ “Exodus 4:1
After commanding Moses to cast his rod on the ground, and it became a serpent. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail” (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand), 5 “that they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you. “Exodus 4:4-5. The signs were for the Jews, “for Jews require a sign so that they would believe that God had appeared to Moses and sent him.
God then commanded Moses to put his hand in his bosom and when he took it out, his hand was leprous, like snow. After he put his hand in his bosom again, and drew it out, it was restored like his other flesh. “Then it will be, if they do not believe you, nor heed the message of the first sign, that they may believe the message of the latter sign, “Exodus 4:8
Later after Moses told Aaron “all the words of the Lord who had sent him, and all the signs which He had commanded him” (Exodus 4:28), they went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel “And Aaron spoke all the words which the Lord had spoken to Moses. Then he did the signs in the sight of the people. “So the people believed; Exodus 4:30 – 31
The Israelites believed Aaron and Moses because of the signs they did “for the Jews request a sign.”
In the book of Judges the Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon under the terebinth tree, and the Lord spoke though the Angel and commissioned Gideon to save Israel, then Gideon said to the Lord, Then he said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who talk with me. judges 6:17.
Once again, a Jew requests a sign so that he would know that the Angel was sent from God. Then after preparing meat and unleavened bread, Gideon lay them on a rock and poure broth on them. “Then the Angel of the Lord put out the end of the staff that was in His hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire rose out of the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. And the Angel of the Lord departed out of his sight. 22 Now Gideon perceived that He was the Angel of the Lord. (Judges 6:21-22a) Gideon, a Jew, believed that the Angel was sent by God because of the sign that he did.
When God sent Moses to the nation of Israel to save them out of Egypt He used signs to verify that Moses was indeed sent by God. When God sent His Angel to Gideon, an Israelite, to save Israel from the hand of the Midianites, He used signs to verify that the Angel was indeed sent by God. And, when God sent Jesus to the nation of Israel to save them out of the world and into the kingdom of heaven, He used signs to verify that Jesus was indeed sent by God. These signs that Jesus performed in the Book of John were written for a purpose: that the Jews “ may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that believing you may have life in His name”[i]
When Jesus came, He was sent only to the house of Israel. “But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 15:24. But the Nation of Israel as a whole did not receive Him. “He came to His own,[a] and His own[b] did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: John 1:11 – 12
Throughout the Book of John signs were performed by Jesus, and were directed toward the Jews to verify that He was indeed sent by God and that He was the very one in which they awaited to deliver them into the Kingdom of God, their Messiah, the Christ, and through the Book of John the Jewish nation as a whole rejected the Christ, with a small part of the nation believing
“So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” (John 2:18)
Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. John 2:23
Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe. ” John 4:48
So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household.54 This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee. John 4:53,54
But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. John 5:36
Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased. John 6:2
Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” John 6:14 Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? John 6:30
And many of the people believed in Him, and said, “When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?” John 7:31
Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. 33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.” John 9:32 – 33
“Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. John 10:25
If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” John 10:37-38
Then many came to Him and said, “John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this Man were true.” 42 And many believed in Him there. John 10:41-42
Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. 48 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.” John 11:47-48
“Therefore, the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness, for this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!” John 12:19
These miraculous signs that Jesus performed in the book of John were for Jews, “for Jews request a sign”; the miraculous signs that Moses performed in the Book of Exodus were for Jews, “For Jews request a sign,” and the miraculous signs that were performed by Paul and others in the Book of Acts were for Jews, “for Jews request a sign.
Any Christian seeking to perform signs today should be very careful. Unbelievers today do not come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through seeing signs. They come to Christ through receiving”
that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,1 Corinthians 15: 3b-4 for Greeks seek after wisdom;1 Corinthians 1:22
Jesus Himself left a warning:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7: 21-23
In that day there will be Christians having prophesied in Christ’s name, having cast out demons in Christ’s name, and having done many wonders in Christ’s name, that will be rejected from entering the Kingdom of heaven. They will find themselves having practice lawlessness! Only those doing the will of Christ’s Father will enter the Kingdom of heaven. It would be wise for every Christian to search the Scriptures and find all the commands which Christians have been commanded and start working on being obedient to God’s word.
[i] but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. john 20:31