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John 6:30

ESV So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?
NIV So they asked him, 'What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do?
NASB So they said to Him, 'What then are You doing as a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work are You performing?
CSB "What sign, then, are you going to do so that we may see and believe you? " they asked. "What are you going to perform?
NLT They answered, 'Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do?
KJV They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?

What does John 6:30 mean?

Jesus is explaining the context of His miracles to the crowd. They are hung up on material things, including rituals and sacraments. Not only are they missing the concept of working for heavenly rewards, not earthly rewards, they are trusting in their own good deeds for salvation (Romans 10:2–4). Jesus replies that He, the Son of Man (Daniel 7:13–14), is the real source of eternal life, and that obtaining this life is based only on belief, not on good works. This contradiction to their traditions is offensive to the crowd, so they demand Jesus perform a miracle—a sign, as used elsewhere in the gospel of John—in order to back up His teaching.

This verse demonstrates the length to which mankind will go to resist conclusions we don't like. The crowd listening to Jesus in this passage has followed Him into Capernaum. They began to trail Jesus on account of His many healing miracles (John 6:2). The prior evening, Jesus had fed thousands of people with a miraculous use of bread and fish (John 6:9–14). In other words, it was miracles, particularly one very recent miracle, which brought these people here. And yet, faced with a doctrine they don't like, the people stubbornly refuse to accept it without extravagant, excessive proof.

This same mindset applies even today. The person who says, "I will believe if God shows me this or that miracle" is, actually, fooling themselves (Matthew 16:4). Those who do not wish to believe, prior to a miracle, will not believe, even after a miracle. Saving faith is based on acceptance of God's truth, not on spectacle or emotion. Those who demand a miracle, when they've already been shown ample truth, prove only that they're not really interested in truth, at all (John 6:36).
What is the Gospel?
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