If some people will never believe, no matter how much evidence and reason we put in front of them, we have to work out when we have said all we can and then leave people to their determined rejection. This seems to be what Jesus is talking about when he speaks about casting our pearls before swine. t’s certainly what he did with the Pharisees, when he reached a point where he insisted they would get no further signs from him nor would he even bother answering their questions anymore.
It is not uncommon, nor unreasonable, for people to ask us for evidence of why we believe in Jesus. It is perfectly right and proper to give people a reason for the hope that is in us. Indeed, not only reasonable, but something the Bible demands. God condescends to reason with us (cf. Isaiah 1:18) and calls us to reason with others (cf. 1 Peter 3:15). It is good, right and proper to offer genuine reasons to believe.
But as a soteriologically reformed believer, I am well aware that unless God moves in grace towards people, they cannot and will not believe. If Total Depravity tells us anything it is that we do not by nature reach out to God. Even if you’re not reformed, it’s pretty hard to ignore the plain statement of Romans 3:9-18. And then there are the words of Jesus in John 6:44. There are other verses saying much the same thing. Unless God moves in grace towards us, we aren’t going to seek after him and we can’t come to the Father.
Similarly, we see the Pharisees in the gospels continually asking for signs that they know they will reject. They recognise perfectly well who Jesus is and yet reject him. They ask for more signs, having received countless signs already – enough even for them to have formed a clear understanding that Jesus is at least ‘a teacher come from God’ (John 3:2) – knowing full well that this sign is not going to be the one where they finally acknowledge Jesus as Son of God and Son of David. For them, no amount of signs will ever be enough.
I think three things are worth noting about that for us today. First, we have to accept that there are some people who engage with us who simply will never believe and do not want to do so. We can present Christ to them. We can point them to evidence. We can show them the scriptures. But in the end, unless God himself is drawing them, no amount of evidence will be enough. It is worth just preparing ourselves for that reality in our evangelistic efforts.