Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him. But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did.

—John 11:45-46

Have you ever thought that if you could do a miracle for your unbelieving friends, they would put their faith in Christ? Maybe you’ve thought, “If I could just take them down to the local cemetery and raise some people from the dead, that would convert them right there on the spot.”

Some of them might believe, but most of them would not. Miracles won’t necessarily convert someone. Jesus said, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:39–40).

Let me loosely paraphrase what Jesus was saying: “You want to see a miracle? I’m not going to give you one. Here’s what I will say. I will go to a cross. I will die for your sins. And I will rise from the dead. That is the sign I’m giving to you.

What will bring people to faith in Christ is not necessarily some miracle that we might perform. Rather, it will be the message of the gospel, the recognition that we’re all sinners and that we have sinned against a holy God. But God loves us so much that He sent His own Son to die on a cross in our place and take all of the sin of the world upon Himself. “The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,” Isaiah 53:5 says, “and by His stripes we are healed.”

He came to pay a debt He did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay. That is the message we need to share.

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