|Calvary Baptist Church - Danville, Illinois||
Those crowds were pretty clever...they realized Jesus had not gone over the Sea of Galilee with his disciples but was no longer where he had been. They all were wondering how he got over there with them. Of course, we know how he did (See yesterday's QT passage).
Jesus informs the crowd that they do not actually want him, nor do they want to see signs, they simply want to be fed. He teaches them about the bread that last forever and encourages the people not to work for the bread they had eaten yesterday, which perishes.
The crowd assumes there are "Works of God" that they must do to get the bread which is everlasting. Jesus switches their perspective and gives them an answer they surely were not expecting. It is not "Works of God" that they (or we) can do to get this bread. Instead, it is a work of God (not a work of our own) that we would believe in his Son, Jesus Christ.
Upon hearing that they must believe, the people people immediately ask for a sign...but not any sign. They want to see Jesus produce manna. The sadly ironic aspect of this request is that Jesus had just miraculously given them bread the previous day! His earlier rebuke of them was correct...it was not really a sign that they desired, and it was not really Jesus who they wanted. What they wanted was food in their stomach.
I was reminded this morning of two other Scriptures that shed some further light on an application for what we read today. Romans 10:17 teaches us that faith comes from the hearing of the Word of God. Also, in Matthew 16:4 (and in other places as well) Jesus declares that a wicked generation seeks or desires a sign in order to believe.
Maybe, like me, you have prayed for the salvation of other souls like this, "Lord, please show yourself to this person and help them to see You in their lives so that they will believe in You." While this prayer is given with a heart for a lost soul to come to Christ, what is it really saying? I think that in the times I have prayed this kind of prayer I have been asking God to work in ways He declares that He does not work! God does not use signs and wonders in order to bring a soul to repentance. It certainly can strengthen our faith when we read of all the miraculous works of Jesus, but his miracles were not primarily for the purpose of evangelism. He does a work in their heart and uses the His Word.
So, when we pray for lost souls, let's pray this, "Lord, please do a work in the heart of this person and help them to understand your Word. Please help them to believe and repent. Please save them."
Let's pray for lost souls to be saved and let's use the Word of God to share the truth of the Gospel!