That You May Believe
Dr. F. J. May and Dr. H. Lynn Stone
Section III – The Lord Reigns Through His Passion (John 18-21)
Lecture 9, THE LORD AND THE SIGNS WHICH REVEALED HIM (John 20:30)
Scripture – John 20:30, 31
1. King James Version
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are
not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is
the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his
2. New International Version
Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are
not recorded in this book. But these are written that may believe that Jesus is the
Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Throughout the book of John the writer has emphasized the importance of the
disciples' experience of "seeing for themselves "the evidence that proved Jesus of
Nazareth to be the Messiah, the Son of God. Now he has confirmed that the purpose of
his writing the fourth Gospel is so that those persons who were not physically able to
SEE the miraculous signs nevertheless could read about those miracles and come to
believe that Jesus is the Christ.
In fact, he records also that Jesus pronounced a special blessing upon those who
would believe even though they had NOT SEEN. "Jesus said unto him, Thomas, because
thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have
believed" (John 20:29).
It is very important for the believer to have the proper perspective on miracles or
signs, especially as they relate to faith. In this lesson we will look intently at the Greek
word for signs (SEMEION) which John consistently uses throughout His Gospel.
B. Etymology of the Word "Signs" – Semeion
1. Strong's Concordance (4592)
Strong says as follows. "Neuter of a presumed derivative of the base of 4591; an
INDICATION, especially ceremonially or supernaturally: – miracle, sign, token, wonder"
Strong says of #4591 (SEMAINO) as follows. "From SEMA (a MARK; of
uncertain derivation); to INDICATE: – signify" (p. 65).
2. Thayer's Lexicon
Thayer gives the following lexical breakdown of SEMEION (pages 573574). His
basic definition is, "A SIGN, MARK, TOKEN."
a. Universally – that by which a person or a thing is distinguished from others and
Matthew 26:48 – "Now he that betrayed him gave them a SIGN, saying,
Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; hold him fast."
Luke 2:12 – "And this shall be a SIGN unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped
in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."
II Thessalonians 3:17 – "The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is
the token in every epistle: so I write."
(1). Circumcision, which should be a sign of the covenant formed with God.
Romans 4:11 – "And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the
righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised."
(2). Signs of the Apostles – the tokens by which one is proved to be an apostle.
II Corinthians 12:12 – "Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in
all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds."
(3). The Sign of His Coming.
Matthew 24:3 – "And as he sat upon the mount of olives, the disciples came unto
him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of
thy coming, and of the end of the world?"
Luke 21:7 – "And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be?
and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?"
Mark 13:4 – "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign
when all these things shall be fulfilled?"
(4). The Sign of the Son of Man
Matthew 24:30 – "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven:
and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming
in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
(5). An Admonition – A sign by which one is warned
I Corinthians 14:22 – "Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that
believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe
not, but for them which believe."
(6). Persons as Signs – Used of noteworthy personages, by whom God forcibly
admonishes men and indicates to them that which he would have them to do.
Luke 11:29, 30 – "And when the people were gathered thick together, he began
to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but
the sign of Jonah the prophet. For as Jonah was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also
the Son of man be to this generation."
Matthew 12:38-41 – "Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered,
saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An
evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it,
but the sign of the prophet Jonas; For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the
whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the
earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn
it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is
Luke 2:34 – "And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold,
this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall
be spoken against."
b. A Sign, Prodigy, Portent
An unusual occurrence, transcending the common course of nature.
(1). Signs Portending Remarkable Events Soon to Happen
Luke 21:11 – "And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and
pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven."
Luke 21:25 – "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the
stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and waves roaring."
Acts 2:19 – "And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth
beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and
the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come."
Revelation 12:1-4 – "And there appeared a great WONDER in heaven; a woman
clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve
stars: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And
there appeared another WONDER in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having
seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third
part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before
the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was
Revelation 15:1 – "And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven
angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God."
(2). Authenticating Signs
SEMEION is used of miracles and wonders by which God authenticates the men
sent by him, or by which men prove that the cause they are pleading is God's.
Matthew 12:38 (see above, page 3)
Matthew 16:1-4 – "The Pharisees also with the Sadduccees came, and tempting
desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto
them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the
morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering.
O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the
signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there
shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and
departed." (See also Mark 8:11,12).
(3). Deceiving Signs by False Prophets
Matthew 24:24 – "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and
shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive
the very elect."
Mark 13:21, 22 – "And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or,
lo, he is there; believe him not: for false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall
shew signs (SEMEION) and wonders (TERATA), to seduce, if it were possible, even the
Revelation 13:11-18 – "And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth;
and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the
power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein
to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
"And he doeth great wonders (SEMEIA), so that he maketh fire come down from
heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the
means of those miracles (SEMEIA) which he had power to do in the sight of the beast;
saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast,
which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
"And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the
beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the
beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and
bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads; and that no man might
buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his
name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast:
for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred three score and six."
Revelation 16:13, 14 – "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the
mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false
prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles (SEMEIA), which go forth
unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that
great day of God Almighty."
Revelation 19:20 – "And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that
wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of
the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of
fire burning with brimstone."
II Thessalonians 2:6-10 – "And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be
revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now
letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked by revealed,
whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the
brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all
power and signs (SEMEIA) and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of
unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth that
they might be saved."
C. The Seven Signs of Christ in the Gospel of John
1. First Sign – Water into Wine (John 2:1-11)
2. Second Sign – Healing the Nobleman's Son (4:46-54)
3. Third Sign – The Healing of the Lame Man (5:1-18)
a. The Healing (5:1-9a)
b. Dispute Over the Sabbath (5:9b-18)
4. Fourth Sign – Feeding the Multitude (5:1-15)
5. Fifth Sign – Walking on the Water (6:16-21)
6. Sixth Sign – Healing the Man Born Blind (9:1-41)
a. The Healing (9:1-7)
b. The Effect on the Neighbors (9:8-12)
c. The Healed Man and the Pharisees (9:13-34)
(1) Preliminary Discussions (9:13-17)
(2) The Man's Parents' Examined (9:18-23)
(3) The Man Examined and Excommunicated (9:24-34)
7. Seventh Sign – The Raising of Lazarus (11:1-57)
a. The Death of Lazarus (11:1-16)
b. Jesus' Meeting with Martha (11:17-27)
c. Jesus' Meeting with Mary (11:28-32)
d. Lazarus is Raised (11:33-44)
e. The Reaction of Faith (11:45)
f. The Reaction of Unbelief (11:46-57)
Section 3, The Lord Reigns Through His Passion, Lecture 9
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