The King and his chosen sign
1. THE Pharisees also with the Sadducees come, and tempting desired him that he would shew them, a sign from, heaven The King is again met by his foes. Two sects, which were violently opposed to each other, unite their forces against him. It is the way of the wicked to become friends when seeking the overthrow of the kingdom of heaven.
On this occasion they come not with a question, but with the old demand for a sign. This time it must be “a sign from heaven,” possibly a marvel in the sky. What right had they to set him a test of such a sort as their fancy might suggest? What need for more signs when his miracles were so many? Were not all his miracles signs from heaven? Did not this demand cast a slur on all that he had already done? Was it not a practical ignoring of all his previous works of power? Too often we also have fallen into the weakness of asking a new token of divine love, thus undervaluing former favors. If the evidence we have already received of our Lord’s grace and power is not enough, when will our doubts be ended?
In this demand for a sign, our Lord’s foes were tempting him. Did the temptation lie in urging him to seek his own glory by some ostentatious display of power, for which there would be no real need? Whatever it was, our Lord passed scathless through this ordeal, for there was no pride in him. Pharisees and Sadducees will tempt us also. From their wiles and smiles may the Lord deliver us! From the desire to stand well with men may we be happily freed by our love to Jesus!
2, 3. 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?
They could prognosticate the weather by certain signs, and our Lord Jesus mentions the weather-tokens of Palestine, yet they could not read the plainer and more plentiful warnings of the near future. Weather-signs are doubtful, but there were moral and spiritual tokens around them which could hardly be misunderstood if they would only consider them. Each country has it’s own sky warnings, and those of Palestine differ from those of England, but the signs of the times are the same in all lands. Our Lord singled out an instance of their supposed weather-wisdom: the same sign which, in the evening, was a token of fair weather, was, in the morning, a mark of foul weather.
They were able to draw nice distinctions on the variable condition of “the face of the sky:” why could they not “discern the signs of the times?” They could have seen, if they had chosen to do so, that all the prophecies were one in declaring that the date of Messiah’s appearing had arrived, and they could also have observed that every event was fulfilling those prophecies, but they were false at heart, and would not see, and yet cried out for a sign. Signs were all around them, and yet they repeated the parrot cry
“Show us a sign.
Most justly our Lord was indignant with them, and upbraided them, using the justly severe words,
“O ye hypocrites!”
Today the men who want more evidences of the supernatural deserve a similar denunciation.
Lord, do not allow any of us to be blind to the heavenly signs, thy cross, thy resurrection, thy Word, thy Spirit, and thy work of grace, Teach us carefully to “discern” these things as being in very deed the abiding “signs of the times.” Even in the growing coldness of the church, and the abounding iniquity of the world, let us see the tokens of thine Advent, and stand waiting and watching for thy long promised appearing.
4. 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.
It was not lack of evidence, but the sad depravity of their minds, which set them upon seeking after a sign, and therefore the Lord would not satisfy their unhealthy cranny. They were wicked in morals, and adulterous in heart in their forsaking the one true God, and then they turned round and justified their unbelief in the Son of God by pleading want of proof, demanding more miracles to enable them to come to a right conclusion. Such is the deceit of man’s heart.
Our Lord repeats his former answer: he will give them no other. In the compass of the Old Testament there is no fuller sign of our Lord than Jonah. Our Lord knew that he would fulfill the type of Jonah even in it’s details, and therefore he points them to that prophet’s life.
This is a subject which deserves our careful meditation, but we cannot enlarge upon it here. Our Lord looks to his death and resurrection, and gives the prophet Jonas as his sign. Jesus will be buried, and will rise on the third day, and in the power of his resurrection, will win the Gentiles to repentance: in this he will be the antitype of Jonah, and this shall be the sign that he is indeed the Christ of God. This our Lord had said before, and he here repeated it, because it was a sufficient reply, and there was no need to study variety with a set of people who, themselves, harped perpetually upon one string.
Our Lord quitted such persons, for there was nothing to be done with them. “lie left them, and departed,” and that place saw him no more.
Lord, do not leave any one of us, for that would be a sure sentence of death to us.
- Science, scepticism, doubts and beliefs Can a Christian have doubts?
- May we have doubts
- Know by trying
- Faith is knowing there is an ocean because you have seen a brook.
- Doubting and going astray
- Have faith in your faith…doubt your doubts
- When you don’t know what to do and hate yourself
- Let me keep to “first importance” things