Jesus’ miracles, the signs—testified of him. His own works were, in effect, the witnesses. Jesus performed these signs right before the eyes of those who said, “Give us a sign.” But, they refused to see the signs for what they were. These acts and signs were intended to underline and reveal Christ’s identity and thus his authority to authenticate his message. They were to bear witness that Jesus is the Christ, the very Son of God, the Davidic king, the Lord’s anointed. But the people would not hear.
John reports a miracle that is one of the first miracles many of us remember hearing about: the feeding of the five thousand (John 6:1– 15). This miracle illustrates what Jesus said (John 5) about his works. After Jesus fed the five thousand, those who came to find Jesus asked him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?” (John 6:30). Do not miss the audacity of their questions. They asked Jesus these questions the day after the feeding of the five thousand—after that miracle, after that sign, after that work.
They refused to see it. They asked Jesus what sign he would give and what work he would perform, as if nothing had happened. They asked the question as if Jesus had not healed a man at the pool of Bethesda—a miracle about which they complained because Jesus did it on the Sabbath—and then miraculously fed the multitudes. Jesus said, “. . . the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me” (John 5:36). But the works of Jesus were not the final witness.