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Jews ask for signs

I post the following quote in reply to some folks who insist that the gospel, unaccompanied by signs, lacks power, or that signs and wonders add power to the Word. It comes from Ryles commentary on John 11:4757.

image   We should observe, for one thing, in these verses, the desperate wickedness of mans natural heart. A mighty miracle was wrought within an easy walk of Jerusalem. A man four days dead was raised to life, in the sight of many witnesses. The fact was unmistakable, and could not be denied; and yet the chief priests and Pharisees would not believe that He who did this miracle ought to be received as the Messiah. In the face of overwhelming evidence they shut their eyes, and refused to be convinced. This man, they admitted, does many miracles. But so far from yielding to this testimony, they only plunged into further wickedness, and took counsel to put Him to death. Great, indeed, is the power of unbelief!

Let us beware of supposing that miracles alone have any power to convert mens souls, and to make them Christians. The idea is a complete delusion. To fancy, as some do, that if they saw something wonderful done before their eyes in confirmation of the Gospel, they would at once cast off all indecision and serve Christ, is a mere idle dream. It is the grace of the Spirit in our hearts, and not miracles, that our souls require. The Jews of our Lords day are a standing proof to mankind that men may see signs and wonders, and yet remain hard as stone. It is a deep and true saying, If men believe not Moses and the Prophets, neither would they be persuaded though one rose from the dead. (Luke xvi. 31.)

J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Baker Books, 2007) [Westminster (PB) | Amazon (HC)].


19 For it is written,
   I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,

and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 1

Posted 2010·08·02 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Charismania · Expository Thoughts on the Gospels · J C Ryle
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