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The Signs of Jesus

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We have been going through Johns gospel as you all know and we have looked initially in the first chapter at how John expresses in clear language who Jesus is. we saw Jesus as God, the incarnate one, the one from the beginning, the one who created all things and the one who all things are created for. he is the saviour, the Redeemer, he is the one who we have been waiting for. The long awaited one who took on flesh and was tempted in every way like us but with out sin. the Lamb of God....
This morning we continue looking in John's gospel and find ourselves in chapter 2 looking at what is traditionally known as the First sign of Jesus. When he turns water into wine. And with this, we begin a new series within our expositional study of the gospel of John by looking at the signs of Jesus.
But before looking at the six signs of Jesus, I want us to look first to the purpose of the signs. With first a reminder of the purpose of the book. Maybe at this point you may be thinking why did john write all of this. what is the purpose? you know Jihns gospel was not the first gospel to be written. it was the last to be written. why another one?
Generally when someone is a new believer or is to be introduced to the truth of Christianity, they are brought to read John’s Gospel. I don’t know if you have ever wondered why that is? Why not Matthew or Mark or Luke? All of which are accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus. Why John? Well, if you recall each one presents a portrait of who Jesus is.
Matthew presents Jesus as the King, Mark has a portrait of Him as a Servant, Luke demonstrates that He is our Saviour. All important. All necessary truths. But John shows a different portrait of the same person. That He is the Son of God, that He is indeed God. He is the one in whom we believe in as God,as the one who gives eternal life.

Scripture Reading

John 12:37–41 HCSB
Even though He had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in Him. But this was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet, who said: Lord, who has believed our message? And who has the arm of the Lord been revealed to? This is why they were unable to believe, because Isaiah also said: He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so that they would not see with their eyes or understand with their hearts, and be converted, and I would heal them. Isaiah said these things because he saw His glory and spoke about Him.
John 20:30–31 HCSB
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name.

Introduction

Here we read about the purpose of John’s Gospel. It is so that people will believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that in believing you will have life.
How beautiful is that. It is not by works or by effort, but by believing. It is not that you had to have been an eye witness or that you had some sort of existential experience. But simply that you believe.
This is vitally important. So this is purpose , the whole reason for why he wrote this book. To point people to Christ. To believe. And he uses some specific events in the first half of the book, the first 12 chapters of the book, to convey this truth, presenting evidence that Jesus is more than a mere human. That Jesus performed many signs.

Body

Within John’s Gospel, there are what are known as the signs of Jesus. Perhaps in your Bible, you have chapter or section headings. In Chapter two, you will find something like “The First Sign: Jesus turns water into wine.” Or if you have a children’s Bible, I have seen it say Jesus turns water into Grape Juice.
And throughout John’s Gospel, you will read of six signs.
The six undisputed Johannine “signs” are:
(1) The turning of water into wine at the wedding in Cana (2:1–11)
(2) The healing of the official’s son (4:46–54)
(3) The healing of the lame man (5:1–15)
(4) The feeding of the multitude (6:1–15)
(5) The healing of the man born blind (chap. 9)
(6) The raising of Lazarus (chap. 11)
Traditionally, these are the six signs of Jesus, although some theologians will argue that there are seven. Or they may switch the raising of lazarus, with Jesus walking on the water.
Dr. Andreas Kostenberger --
He defines a sign in John’s Gospel as “A symbol-laden, but not necessarily ‘miraculous,’ public work of Jesus selected and explicitly identified as such by John for the reason that it displays God’s glory in Jesus who is thus shown to be God’s true representative (cf. 20:30–31).”
First, you will notice that all six undisputed signs (and even the walking on the water) occur in chapters 1–12 of John’s Gospel, which is concerned with Jesus’ mission to the Jews.
Second, it appears that every one of the signs is identified as such at least somewhere in John’s Gospel (notice that often this is somewhat indirect and sometimes not until several chapters later; see below).
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Third, as John 20:30–31 makes clear, John selected certain events in Jesus’ public ministry to the Jews as signs because they all demonstrated that Jesus was the Christ and Son of God. This, of course, would fit the walking on the water and perhaps other elements in John’s Gospel, but any candidate for “sign” (like the six undisputed signs) must fit all three criteria, not merely one or two.
You see, the signs that John includes in His gospel serve a purpose. Just like all of the Scriptures do. They are not meant to tickle our imaginations, although they may do that at times. They are not just to relay to us historical accounts, although it does that as well. But, in particular, what we find is that the whole scope of Scripture is revealing to us God and His work in salvific history.
And the signs of Jesus show us God, and bring us to give Him glory, as we see how he is working out His plan of salvation. Some will try and wrangle the text, twist the signs, and say that you can do the same things. As if the miracles that Jesus performed were common tricks or abilities that now every believer is capable of doing.
No, the signs we performed to display the glory of God within the Son who truly was God incarnate.
John 12:37 HCSB
Even though He had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in Him.
He performed signs, so that they would believe. But they did not.
How sad that is. I don’t know how many times I have heard that if only God would perform a miracle then I would believe. Some churches, one pastor of a church even said that we need to do miracles nowadays so that people will believe in God, despite the fact that this pastor has not performed any miracles of his own.
But even in Jesus’ day, he was performing great signs and wonders and still they did not believe. So many other signs that John said that he does not even contain them in his book.
John 21:25 HCSB
And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which, if they were written one by one, I suppose not even the world itself could contain the books that would be written.
And that is tragic isn’t it. John includes what he believes, under the inspiration of the Spirit, all that is necessary. But many will stay say he should’ve included those signs and everything that Jesus did. We need evidence. We need to know in order to believe. John, you walked with Jesus, you saw the things he did. But not us! So you have to write it all down, otherwise I will not believe.
John 20:30–31 HCSB
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name.
John here seems to indicate, no you don’t. What I have written is enough. What is written in this book is so that you may believe. Now notice, he does not say what I have written and the signs that you will see.
Those who crave after signs are craving after exactly that, signs. They are not desiring God. They want to be awed, but there is nothing more awesome than God Himself. Even with the signs, we read that many still did not believe.(John 12:37). And to those who asked for signs, Jesus spoke fairly harshly to them.
Matthew 16:4 HCSB
An evil and adulterous generation demands a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” Then He left them and went away.
We unfortunately, as a human race have a really poor record of handling signs.
When God performed amazing and powerful miracles for the Israelites, did that cause them to obey Him? No, the Israelites constantly disobeyed and rebelled against God even though they saw all the miracles. The same people who saw God send the plagues to Egypt, part the Red Sea, feed them constantly, guide them by a pillar of fire and cloud, and spoke from the mountains, they later doubted whether God was able to conquer the inhabitants of the Promised Land.
This truth is explained in Luke 16:19-31. In the story, a man in hell asks Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to warn his brothers. Abraham informed the man, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:31).
Jesus performed countless miracles, yet the vast majority of people did not believe in Him. If God performed miracles today as He did in the past, the result would be the same.

In one of the “Big Three” conferences during World War II, Roosevelt and Churchill were trying to get Stalin to agree with some proposed strategy. When Stalin gave his reason or excuse for not agreeing with them, they said, “That is no reason for your refusal!” Stalin replied with a story of two Arabs.

One Arab asked the other to lend him his rope. The latter replied, “I can’t. I need it to tie my camel.” The first Arab reminded his companion that he didn’t own a camel. To which the companion replied, “I know that. But when you don’t want to lend your rope, one excuse is as good as any other.”

Excuses offered to God are in the same category. They reveal that we simply do not want to do what He tells us to do.

Now some of you may ask, well does that mean that God will not perform any miracles nowadays? No, should God desire to perform a miracle today, nothing can, nothing will hinder Him. In fact, God does still perform miracles—many of them simply go unnoticed or are denied. However, we do not need more miracles. What we need is to believe in the miracle of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
The purpose of miracles was to authenticate the performer of the miracles.
Acts 2:22 HCSB
“Men of Israel, listen to these words: This Jesus the Nazarene was a man pointed out to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through Him, just as you yourselves know.
The same is said of the apostles,
2 Corinthians 12:12 HCSB
The signs of an apostle were performed with great endurance among you—not only signs but also wonders and miracles.
Speaking of the gospel,
Hebrews 2:4 HCSB
At the same time, God also testified by signs and wonders, various miracles, and distributions of gifts from the Holy Spirit according to His will.
We now have the truth of Jesus recorded in Scripture. We now have the writings of the apostles recorded in Scripture. Jesus and His apostles, as recorded in Scripture, are the cornerstone and foundation of our faith (Ephesians 2:20).
In this sense, miracles are no longer necessary, as the message of Jesus and His apostles has already been attested to and accurately recorded in the Scriptures.
And looking to John 12, we read of how he performed many signs in their presence and they did not believe.
I mean, it seems rather obvious that intelligent, religious people like the Jews would believe in a series of miracles like we claim Jesus did. A nation of people who were retelling the stories of their salvation from the exodus and the judges and the kings and the prophets. Then they witness real proof. And still they reject it.
But in John 12, we read an interesting passage corresponding to Isaiah’s Prophecy. God did it. Well you may say well how is it then that they could have ever believed?
We see a similar thing with Pharaoh. God said, “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart.” Then in 8:32 it says, “Pharaoh hardened his own heart first.” And then later on in 9:12 it says, “Then God hardened his heart.” In other words, first Pharaoh of his own choice hardened his heart, then God hardened it for him.
As John MacArthur put it, “God prophesied past the point of human will to the point of His own involvement, see. God could see the human hardening and then prophesy His own response.”
We see a similar thing in Romans 1.

21 For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.

24 Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves

So it’s a purpose clause. God says I am going to do it and He did it. But in between God’s two sovereign acts, the prophecy of hardening, the act of God hardening, was the choice of Israel to refuse Christ. And He knew they’d do it.
The passage we read in the beginning finishes off with a couple more verses.
John 12:42–43 HCSB
Nevertheless, many did believe in Him even among the rulers, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, so they would not be banned from the synagogue. For they loved praise from men more than praise from God.
We say, they believed, that is a good thing. But not fully. They wanted to hold tightly to the law. They are like the seed that fell on the stony ground or with the wheat. They weren’t saved. They believed the facts but they refused it because they desired the praise of men.
And we still see this sort of behavior today. People who want popularity rather than salvation. They’d rather do what everybody else is doing. They’d rather live the way the rest of the people are living. What kind of a reverse hypocrisy in our world.
You know, the old hypocrite didn’t have anything, but he faked it. Today so many people know the truth and they fake like they don’t. And so they want to strive to be like the world and do what the world does and drink with the world and carouse with the world and, follow the philosophies of the world and the world may accept them for a season. But John reminds us that this world and everything in it is passing away (1 JOhn 2:15-17). And James tells us that friendship with the world in enmity with God (James 4:4).
What does it profit a man if he gains the world but loses his soul?
As we consider the signs of Jesus, let’s not get wrapped up with the signs. Let us not misdirect our attention away from them. But also, let us not turn our hearts into disbelief. Skepticism. The temptation is to say that Jesus did some sort of magic trick and so the signs that were validations of who he is so that we will believe are really not anything at all. Do not do that.

Conclusion

Confidence

The signs affirm who Jesus is.
Illustrations for Biblical Preaching Salvation, Understanding of

I don’t understand electricity, but I’m no fool—I’m not going to sit around in the dark till I do. I don’t understand the thermodynamics of internal combustion and the hydraulics of an automatic transmission either, but I’m no fool—I’m not going to stay in one place until I do. The truth is that I don’t understand a great deal of the things that are part of my everyday life, but I make them a part of my life anyway.

The same is true of salvation. No one will fully understand how God could become man, how he could die, how his death could be the basis for our forgiveness, how he could give you and me a new life, and all of the other aspects of salvation. But only a fool would ignore such a great opportunity just because he didn’t understand it.

Jesus is God. He is our savior and the signs demonstrate that. As we look to them, they will also show us who He is and what He has done.

Conviction

We do not need to look elsewhere but to Him and to believe in Him. If we are chasing after signs, then we are poorly misunderstanding what they served to do. And he has already firmly shown who he is, we do not need further proof.
Also, if we are trying to use scientific reasons and logic to explain away the signs as not miraculous then you reduce Jesus to just a man. Believe in Him.

Conduct

Knowing that He is God. Our conduct changes because when we declare our belief in Him, we rightly understand that we do not need to perform signs. What we really need to do is declare to the world who he is. If you have been trying to have a life full of miracles and signs, stop it. You don’t need that behavior to prove to the world that Jesus is God. You simply need to tell them the Gospel.
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