John’s gospel has several signs, seven or eight, depending on who is counting. The Greek word group occurs 20 times, 17 nouns and 3 verbal forms. We find the word first in John 2 and it is interesting what we see there in light of John’s stated purpose in John 20:30 – 31.
You know the story well. There is a lot here but let’s focus on the “sign” word group. The word shows up in John 2:11, 18, and 23. Jesus turns the water into wine, most people do not even know it happened, perhaps His mother, but the servants for sure. They probably shared what happened later.
Temple Cleaning and Discourse
In John 2:18 the Jews demand a sign to validate the actions Christ took to cleanse the temple. His response is that His authority is His death and resurrection. They did not get it.
The last one is the most intriguing to me. In John 2:23 we read that many were believing in Him because of the signs. However, John 2:24 starts with “but” in your translation. There is a contrast and it is a play on words in the Greek. In 23 the word that is translated “believed” is the same word that is translated “entrusting” in 24.
The theme of signs is an unmistakable thread in John. Here where they are introduced He performs the first one in virtual secrecy, one is demanded of Him to validate His actions, and He does not “believe” those who are believing because He knows what is in them.
In the rest of the gospel we find that while the signs were there to let us know that Christ was the Son of God. It is our faith in Him, who He is, not the signs that He does that is important.