Gideon asked God for one sign, and then another, when God asked the uncertain mighty warrior to do the unbelievable - lead the people of God against their enemies. Many of us would say, well, of course. If God is going to ask big things of us, then it is only fair that we are able to ask big things of Him. We ought to know that the God who calls us forth is the God who has our back, the God who is able to do these kinds of big things.
But what about the people in Jesus' day?
One of the recurring themes in the gospels is the persistent request of the people for Jesus to do something...Jesus-y. Give us a sign. Perform for us a miracle. Do the unimaginable. Do the impossible. What's interesting is that there's a pretty even divide between those who are asking because they are in need of a miracle - the blind, the deaf, the lame, the demon-possessed, the bleeding, the broken, the hurting - and those who are asking for some other reason - confirmation, condemnation, whatever.
There's not really a fundamental difference between the two groups. Both know that Jesus is a performer of miracles; they've heard the same whispers throughout the region. They're privy to the same rumors. People followed Jesus around because they knew what He was capable of - they'd either seen it themselves or heard about it. There was no question that the Man performed great miracles.
Yet the refrain of the people was the same: That was pretty cool, Lord. ...Do it again.
Those who requested a miracle just for the proof needed a witness to some kind of staying power. They needed to know that this whole Jesus thing was legitimate. One miracle may be a smoke show. Two may be a smoke screen. Three may be a product of mass delusion or intense hope. But if this Jesus can perform miracles again and again and again, then there must be something about Him for real. There must be something authentic going on here.
We're a people who need this kind of constant reassurance. In a world where so much truly is smoke and mirrors, in a world where it's so easy to delude ourselves into believing one thing or another, in a world of superstition and faint hope, we need to know, again and again, that this God that we've invested ourselves in is real.
Those who requested a miracle for themselves were searching for some kind of connection to this God who walked among them. Remember, man hasn't had this kind of connection with his God in thousands of years, not since Adam and Eve walked unashamed in the Garden. Now, this Son of God walks among them again, and I think the people just want to know that He's still for them. He's not some random, detached God. He's not some prophet preaching fire and brimstone or baptism and redemption. He's the same loving God who stitched together fig leaves to cover their shame, and now, here He is again - is He for us? Is He for me?
Is this my God?
Open my eyes.
So this need that we have for miracles, for signs, for God to show Himself again and again, this is the testimony not just of us, but of God's people from the very beginning. Sometimes, it's because God's asked us to do a big thing, or at least, what feels like a big thing. Then, like Gideon, we've got to know that God's got our back. Sometimes, we've heard the rumors of miracles and we long to believe, but like the people of Galilee, we have to know that it's not just smoke and mirrors. Sometimes, like the blind men, the deaf men, the lame, the crippled, the hurting, we've heard the whispers, but we have to know if this God we've heard so much about is our God. Is He for us? Is He for me?
And so, we keep asking. Thousands of years later, we keep asking. One sign, one more sign later, we keep asking.
That was pretty cool, Lord. ...Do it again.
Do it again because I have to know. I need to know. I long to know....