You Have Seen, But You Do Not Believe
August 18, 2017
In John 6, Jesus has been asked for big signs, bigger than the mass feedings, bigger than walking on water, bigger than calming the sea, more like daily food for the rest of everyone's life.
"Lord, always give us this bread," they say after asking "What sign will you perform then, that we may see it and believe?"
Without exasperation, but with some penetrating insight, Jesus declares in verse 36, "But I said to you that you also have seen me and do not believe"In John 6, Jesus has been asked for big signs, bigger than the mass feedings, bigger than walking on water, bigger than calming the sea, more like daily food for the rest of everyone's life. "Lord, always give us this bread," they say after asking "What sign will you perform then, that we may see it and believe?"
he indictment here is not on those who have not seen. It is not on those who are seeking truth with all their hearts. It is not on those who are struggling. Folks who struggle with faith issues get a lot of slack from Jesus. Remember the guys who said, "Lord I believe, help me with my unbelief?" He had no problem with that man.
Jesus is slamming the guys with an agenda who have to work hard not to believe.
I have read some interesting observations about the demographics and characteristics of atheists. Several of us who spend time building communication bridges between ourselves as people of faith and those who are at other places on the faith realize that our friends are not statistics, but people.
You won't catch me maligning, ridiculing, or stereotyping you as evil if you are an honest atheist or agnostic. That is not what Jesus is doing either.
Imagine someone being presented with all the evidence anyone would ever need to receive a truth as truth. Imagine that the truth was clearly embodied in a person and that person was standing before you. Imagine that you know that he is true, but you refuse to believe. That is what Jesus is criticizing.
When the psalmist says that the fool has said in his heart that there is no God, he is referring the the decision making capacity of a person. The heart is the control room of ones life in ancient usage of the word. It is where we decide and commit. We know things with our minds and then, experientially. We can even start the process of believing with our minds. However, if it does not reach our hearts where we commit to it and begin to internalize it, it is the kind of faith without works that James says is dead.
There are many who profess belief in God, even in Jesus, who are "fools" by this definition. They are not honest intellectual atheists. They are practical atheists. The men who were grilling Jesus for more proof already believed more than they were willing to commit to in faith. They were just resisting.
When not believing starts to take more effort than believing, then it becomes stubbornness. That, then, is what Jesus means when He says, "You have seen and do not believe."