Summary: This is part 21 of an on-going sermon series from the Gospel of John. In this sermon we contrast true, saving faith, with false faith that cannot save.
The Eventual Exposing of False Faith (John pt. 21)
Text: John 6:28-68
Ok, so we’re in the Gospel of John, and we have a big chunk of text this morning, so I’m going to just get right in to it… Let’s take our Bibles, and open them up to John chapter 6 (READ TEXT).
Now basically, what’s happening here, is that this crowd of people, these false disciples, or false followers of Jesus… they’re making demands of Him… and essentially making demands on God.
And when you get right down to it… they don’t want to know God… they want to BE God.
That’s what we see there in verse 28 – they ask, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” So, they think there’s some kind of formula that they can plug in and they’ll be able to do the things that Jesus has been doing… In other words, “Well Jesus, if You’re not going to do another miracle and feed us, tell us how we can miraculously create food for ourselves.” “How do we get the power that You have Jesus?” That’s what they’re asking here.
Do you remember, way back in John chapter 2:23-24 it said that many people believed in His Name WHEN they saw the signs that He was doing… “But Jesus on His part did not entrust Himself to them, because He knew all people.”
So what we’ve seen in John is that a lot of people are interested in Jesus, because they’ve seen Him do miracles, and because He can heal the sick, and because He can miraculously create an abundance of food. That’s even what we saw with Nicodemus in chapter 3… remember? He came to Jesus in John chapter 3:2 and said, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that You do, unless God is with him.”
So what do these crowds believe about Jesus?
They believed that He came from God… and that He had divine power. And they believed they could manipulate Him into giving them that power. They’re not asking “What kind of works can we do to please God?” They’re asking, “How can we get that same power? How can we get the power of God, so we can use it for what we want?” That’s what they’re asking.
Now I want you to look at how Jesus answers them… it’s in verse 29 (READ).
So what did Jesus mean by that? Well… He means exactly what He said. He says it again, in a slightly different way in verse 44, “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” So they ask Jesus, “What do we need to do, so that we can do the works of God… So that we can do the things that you’re doing Jesus?” And Jesus says, “This is the work of God… Drawing you to Me, and creating faith in faithless hearts. That’s God’s work…” And they got what Jesus was saying, because in verse 30 they say, “Ok then… if we can’t get this power… what sign are YOU going to do SO THAT we may see and believe You? What work do You perform?”
Now I don’t know about you all, but I think the greatest, most miraculous thing that Jesus does in this passage is be patient and merciful to these people. I mean, just think about this for a second. Jesus is God the Son. He is Emmanuel – God with us… God in the flesh… and these people just tried to get Him to give them the power of God… when He wouldn’t do it, they then try to manipulate Him into feeding them again… They’re like, “Ok Jesus if you won’t give us the power of God… what are you going to DO so that we’ll believe… Hey; I’ve got an idea… You know, God gave Moses and the Israelites in the Old Testament, mana… why don’t You feed us again Jesus? Why don’t you miraculously create our breakfast for us?”
Again; they’re not asking Jesus to do something so that they can become believers… they’re trying to manipulate Him into being a divine sugar daddy. If they were looking for a sign to believe, they had already seen it… Remember? Jesus had already fed them the day before… He’s already been doing miracles, and casting out demons, and healing the sick. If the signs and wonders were going to do it… they should’ve already been believers. Of course we know from Scripture, that signs and wonders never lead to saving faith… Faith comes by hearing. It’s the Gospel that is the power of God unto salvation. Not signs and wonders.
So it’s amazing to me that Jesus doesn’t just turn them into dust… that He doesn’t open up a pit and swallow them up, like God did with the faithless back in Moses day… He could be like, “Oh, you want to see miracles like back when Moses was in the wilderness? Then check this out…”