A common complaint given by atheists and other nonbelievers against belief in God is that, if only they could see a miracle with their own eyes, they would believe. Believing in God is so difficult - surely if we received irrefutable proof that He exists, everyone would believe in Him!
There are a couple problems with this line of thinking. The first is that it ignores the many evidences for God’s existence that are around us at every moment - both mundane and miraculous - which nonbelievers regularly ignore. The other problem, as demonstrated in this chapter, is that if someone wants to not believe hard enough, even obvious, in-your-face undeniable miracles won’t be enough.
The Pharisees were in a difficult spot. They fundamentally disagreed with everything Jesus stood for. They believed that rigid obedience to the law was all that mattered; Jesus taught that grace was the real road to salvation. They believed that God only loved a few deserving people, descended from Abraham. Jesus taught that everyone is a beloved child of God. The Pharisees believed that the problem with the world was that it needed people like them in charge - Jesus knew that the problem with the world was people like them.
Normally, the Pharisees would just discredit this upstart preacher or, if that didn’t work, have him killed. But Jesus wasn’t easy to discredit - He didn’t just preach, He had real miraculous power. They simply knew that this Jesus was a fraud - after all, they were never wrong - but it was seemingly impossible to convince the people when He went around performing all these inconvenient miracles.
It seems that it never occured to the Pharisees (most of them, anyway) that, just maybe, they were the ones in the wrong and the guy slinging divine power was really in the right. Despite regularly seeing the literal, visible, undeniable power of God made manifest right before their eyes, they refused to believe.
But lest we be too hard on the Pharisees, we should remember that we all too often do the same thing. Even though we believe that Jesus is Lord, and the ultimate purpose in our lives, we frequently act like He doesn’t exist. We know that He has called us to serve others, read the word and be a witness for the gospel, but allow other things we know are less important get in the way.
We are each a walking miracle - transporting the very Spirit of God in our hearts everywhere we go. And yet, we barely pay Him lip-service as we run after all the things the world tells us are important, and ignore His call on our lives.
Have you, like the Pharisees, gotten distracted from pursuing His Kingdom and His righteousness? Have you allowed idols - popularity, pleasure, significance, wealth - to take His place in your heart?