Why Won't they Believe?
Note from Jesus
Some of you will be frustrated and hurt because people you know and love will choose not to believe in Me as Savior. Some will talk about intellectual doubts. Others will talk about life's hurts and will wonder where God was in the middle of those hurts. Some will say they have a hard time believing something they think the Bible says. Others will see those who are weak and stumble, or who are hypocrites, and say they want no part of that. Some will say they just can't believe in the miracles and My resurrection that they hear about in Scripture.
What you find frustrating, and sometimes heartbreaking, is not new. I faced the same thing. As you read about the events below, remember that I had done two "nature altering" miracles — I fed more than 5,000 people with just 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish as well as walked on the water to the disciples in their boat caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee.
Most of the people in the area at least knew of one of these miracles — that's why they were back out trying to get something else from Me — and many of them were puzzling over the possibility of another miracle — how I had gotten to the other side of the Sea of Galilee to be with My disciples. Yet before they would do the one thing I told them was the true "work of God" — to believe in Me as the One the Father had sent — they wanted another miracle.
My precious disciple, please hear Me: some people don't believe because they won't believe. Another miracle wouldn't have convinced most of the skeptics in the crowd you read about below. They were there for what they could get for free, not to see the sign that I had done and realize that it pointed to My identity as the Son of God.
No one wants people saved more than the Father and Me. No one's heart breaks more at the refusal of people to believe than the heart of God — Father, Son, and Spirit. I left the Father to share grace, offer hope, and bring true life to the people of your world. Don't give up when people refuse to believe, but don't burn up all your time and energy trying to convince them. Invite the Spirit to work on their hearts and in their circumstances. Live before them in a way that is good, gracious, and genuine.
However, realize that you cannot make them believe and I won't force them to believe. Faith has to be chosen freely to be faith: it must not be forced or coerced on anyone or it is not faith. As much as you want them to believe, you do not have the power to make it happen. Give that work over to the Spirit and be ready as you look for the opportunity when the Spirit prompts you to reach out to them. A lot of folks didn't believe in Me until after My death, burial, and resurrection. Others didn't believe until their lives came crashing down around them and they realized they needed help bigger than their circumstances. So be their friend or loved one, faithful and patient, looking for that moment of grace to come.
Also remember what your "work" really is: to believe — to trust that I AM the Son of God, your Savior and Lord — and to live that faith before others. That guarantees your life is bound up with Me for eternity, and it also gives you the best opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those you love.
Verses to Live
The following day [after Jesus had walked on the water] some people gathered on the other side of the sea and saw that only one boat had been there; they were perplexed. They remembered seeing the disciples getting into the boat without Jesus.
Other boats were arriving from Tiberias near the grassy area where the Lord offered thanks and passed out bread. When this crowd could not find Him or His disciples, they boarded their small boats and crossed the sea to Capernaum looking for Him. When they found Jesus across the sea, they questioned Him.
Crowd:Teacher, when did You arrive at Capernaum?
Jesus:I tell you the truth — you are tracking Me down because I fed you, not because you saw signs from God. Don't spend your life chasing food that spoils and rots. Instead, seek the food that lasts into all the ages and comes from the Son of Man, the One on whom God the Father has placed His seal.
Crowd:What do we have to do to accomplish the Father's works?
Jesus:If you want to do God's work, then believe in the One He sent.
Crowd:Can You show us a miraculous sign? Something spectacular? If we see something like that, it will help us to believe. Our fathers ate manna when they wandered in the desert. The Hebrew Scriptures say, "He gave them bread from heaven to eat."
Jesus:I tell you the truth: Moses did not give you bread from heaven; it is My Father who offers you true bread from heaven. The bread of God comes down out of heaven and breathes life into the cosmos.
Crowd:Master, we want a boundless supply of this bread.
Jesus:I am the bread that gives life. If you come to My table and eat, you will never go hungry. Believe in Me, and you will never go thirsty. Here I am standing in front of you, and still you don't believe. All that My Father gives to Me comes to Me. I will receive everyone; I will not send away anyone who comes to Me. And here's the reason: I have come down from heaven not to pursue My own agenda but to do what He desires. I am here on behalf of the Father who sent Me. He sent Me to care for all He has given Me so that nothing and no one will perish. In the end, on the last day, He wants everything to be resurrected into new life. So if you want to know the will of the Father, know this: everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him will live eternally; and on the last day, I am the One who will resurrect him.