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The Scriptorium

Unless You See

Where do signs and wonders fit?

The Gospel of John: John 4.43-54

Read and meditate on John 4.48.

We might be inclined to see this comment of Jesus as a rebuke, and perhaps it is. But my sense is that He’s simply telling the truth. We won’t believe in Jesus until we see Him for Who He is, and for all that He can do.

48Then Jesus said, “Unless you people see
more signs and wonders, you will not believe.”

- John 4.48

1.  Here’s an example of Jesus refocusing a conversation. This nobleman had asked for help for a dying child. Jesus talks about believing in Him. Was Jesus just not paying attention? Explain. Complete this prayer: In all my ways, Lord, teach me to think like you do, so that I…

2.  It’s possible that this comment was meant more for the people of Galilee than the nobleman. They received Jesus as One Who had done signs and wonders. What were they looking for in Jesus? To believe in Him? Or merely to see more signs? Lord, help me to remember that Who You are is more important than…

3.  Let’s consider this comment from another angle: There is truth in what Jesus said, and, ultimately, this is John’s purpose in writing his gospel. What “signs and wonders” do we ultimately proclaim, so that people will believe in Jesus? How can you see John pointing to these already in his gospel (cf. 2.19; 3.14-16; 4.10)?

4.  Just like the water made wine, this dying child would become a sign to make people wonder about Jesus. Can you say the same about your life? Should you? What “sign” or “wonder” will you show in me today, Lord, that others might…

5.  In important ways, your testimony of Christ, and what He has done in your life, is meant to be a sign to help people wonder about whether the Gospel might be true. How do you expect that to work out in your life today? Bring together into one your prayers from questions 1-4.

“So what are we taught by these things? We are taught not to wait for miracles or to seek promises of the power of God. I see a lot of people, even now, who become more pious when, during the sufferings of a child or the sickness of a wife, they see any sign of relief. And yet, even if their child or wife did not obtain that relief, they still should persist in giving thanks and in glorifying God. Because right-minded servants and those who love their Master as they ought should run to him not only when they are pardoned but also when chastised. For this too also shows the tender care of God, since ‘those whom the Lord loves he also chastens.’” John Chrysostom (344-407 AD)

Because Jesus brings such a great salvation to those who believe (Heb. 2.3), we should expect the Gospel to bear fruit and give evidence of its power. In a sense, people only will believe when they see signs that believing makes any difference. Do you suppose this is why, in Acts 1.8, Jesus said we were to be witnesses, and not merely do witnessing? Explain.

Closing Prayer
When the LORD brought back the captivity of Zion,
We were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
And our tongue with singing.
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us,
And we are glad.
Bring back our captivity, O LORD,
As the streams in the South.
Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him.

Psalm 126

Psalm 126 (Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns!)
When God restored our fortunes all,
We were like those who sweetly dream.
Our mouths with joy and laughter filled,
Made Him our constant song and theme.

Then the astonished nations said,
“The Lord has done great things for them!”
Indeed, great things our God has done,
Whose Name we praise, Amen, Amen!

Restore our fortunes, Lord our King!
Let grace like flowing streams prevail.
All they with tears of joy shall sing
Who sow while yet they weep and wail.

They who in tears of sorrow sow
And cast their seed on every hand,
With joy shall reach their heav’nly home,
And bring the harvest of their land.
T. M. Moore

Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course, One in Twelve: Introduction to Christian Worldview, can show you how Jesus is central to all aspects of life in the world – and beyond! Our course is free, and you can study at your own pace, watching videos and using the free materials provided.

We are happy to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in our series on the Gospel of John by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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