[Reflections on the Gospel Lectionary Reading for May 1, 2011]
In his Gospel, John reveals his motivation for writing. He says, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name” (John 19:30-31, NRSV).
We are a people poisoned/blessed by the fruit of the tree of knowledge. We like to figure things out for ourselves. In order to believe something, we rely on evidence and argument. Jesus had to perform miracles, and Jesus had to be resurrected from the dead in order for us to begin to believe that Jesus really was who he claimed to be. Such belief is critical to sharing in Jesus’ inheritance of eternal life.
Yet even after all of this evidence, many refuse to believe. They choose rather to deny those miracles and his resurrection. This is not just a product of the extended length of time that has passed since these events occurred. Even at the time, many refused to believe their own eyes, for to believe in Jesus’ miracles requires an explanation for this super-human power.
We have a great capacity to be blind to evidence that challenges our view of the world. Our confirmation bias makes it very difficult for us to embrace the truth of Jesus’ miracles or resurrection. The dilemma is that only miracles that no mere human could achieve are sufficient for us to believe that Jesus is God. However, this fact makes us skeptical. We don’t believe that “impossible” things were ever done, because we don’t believe in the possibility of the impossible.