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A Look of the Expositor Bible at The Ordeal of questions {Matthew 22:15-46 }

II —The Ordeal of questions. {#Mt 22:15-46 }

The open challenge has failed; but more subtle weapons may succeed. The Pharisees have found it of no avail to confront their enemy; but they may still be able to entangle Him. They will at all events try. They will spring upon Him some hard questions, of such a kind that, answering on the spur of the moment, He will be sure to compromise Himself.

1. The first shall be one of those semi-political semi-religious questions on which feeling is running high — the lawfulness or unlawfulness of paying tribute to Caesar. The old Pharisees who had challenged His authority keep in the background, that the sinister purpose of the question may not appear; but they are represented by some of their disciples who, coming fresh upon the scene and addressing Jesus m terms of respect and appreciation, may readily pass for guileless inquirers. They were accompanied by some Herodians, whose divergence of view on the point made it all the more natural that they should join with Pharisees in asking the question; for it might fairly be considered that they had been disputing with one another in regard to it, and had concluded to submit the question to His decision as to one who would be sure to know the truth and fearless to tell it. So together they come with the request:

“Master, we know that Thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest Thou for any man: for Thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest Thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?”

But they cannot impose upon Him:

“Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye Me, ye hypocrites?”

Having thus unmasked them, without a moment’s hesitation He answers them. They had expected a “yes” or a “no”—a “yes” which would have set the people against Him, or better still a “no” which would have put Him at the mercy of the government. But, avoiding Scylla on the one hand, and Charybdis on the other, He makes straight for His goal by asking for a piece of coin and calling attention to Caesar’s stamp upon it. Those who use Caesar’s coin should not refuse to pay Caesar’s tribute; but, while the relation which with their own acquiescence they sustain to the Roman emperor implied corresponding obligations in the sphere it covered, this did not at all interfere with what is due to the King of kings and Lord of lords, in Whose image we all are made, and Whose superscription every one of us bears:

“Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

Thus He not only avoids the net they had spread for Him, and gives them the very best answer to their question, but, in doing so, He lays down a great principle of far-reaching application and permanent value respecting the difficult and much-to-be-vexed question as to the relations between Church and State. “O answer full of miracle!” as one had said. No wonder that

“when they had heard these words they marvelled, and left Him, and went their way.”

2. Next come forward certain Sadducees. That the Pharisees had an understanding with them also seems likely from what is said both in ver. 15, which seems a general introduction to the series of questions, and in ver. 34, from which it would appear that they were somewhere out of sight, waiting to hear the result of this new attack. Though the alliance seems a strange one, it is not the first time that common hostility to the Christ of God has drawn together the two great rival parties. {see #Mt 16:1 } If we are right in supposing them to be in combination now, it is a remarkable illustration of the deep hostility of the Pharisees that they should not only combine with the Sadducees against Him, as they had done before, but that they should look with complacency on their using against Him a weapon which threatened one of their own doctrines. For the object of the attack was to cast ridicule on the doctrine of the resurrection, which assuredly the Pharisees did not deny.

The difficulty they raise is of the same kind as those which are painfully familiar in these days, when men of coarse minds and fleshly imaginations show by their crude objections their incapacity even to think on spiritual themes. The case they supposed was one they knew He could not find fault with so far as this world was concerned, for everything was done in accordance with the letter of the law of Moses, the inference being that whatever confusion there was in it must belong to what they would call His figment of the resurrection:

“In the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.”

It is worthy of note that our Lord’s-answer is much less stern than in the former case. These men were not hypocrites. They were scornful, perhaps flippant; but they were not intentionally dishonest. The difficulty they felt was due to the coarseness of their minds, but it was a real difficulty to them. Our Lord accordingly gives them a kindly answer, not denouncing them, but calmly showing them where they are wrong:

“Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.”

Ye know not the power of God, or ye would not suppose that the life to come, would be a mere repetition of the life that now is, with all its fleshly conditions the same as now. That there is continuity of life is of course implied in the very idea of resurrection, but true life resides not in the flesh, but in the spirit, and therefore the continuity will be a spiritual continuity; and the power of God will effect such changes on the body itself that it will rise out of its fleshly condition into a state of being like that of the angels of God. The thought is the same as that which was afterwards expanded by the apostle Paul in such passages as #Ro 8:5-11, 1Co 15:35-54.

Ye know not the Scriptures, or you would find in the writings of Moses from which you quote, and to which you attach supreme importance, evidence enough of the great doctrine you deny.

“Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?”

Here, again, Jesus not only answers the Sadducees, but puts the great and all-important doctrine of the life to come and the resurrection of the body on its deepest foundation. There are those who have expressed astonishment that He did not quote from some of the later prophets, where He could have found passages much clearer and more to the point: but not only was it desirable that, as they had based their question on Moses, He should give His answer from the same source; but in doing so He has put the great truth on a permanent and universal basis; for the argument rests not on the authority of Moses, nor, as some have supposed, upon the present tense “I am,” but on the relation between God and His people. The thought is that such a relation between mortal man and the eternal God as is implied in the declaration

“I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”

is itself a guarantee of immortality. Not for the spirit only, for it is not as spirits merely, but as men that we are taken into relation to the living God; and that relation, being of God, must share His immortality:

“God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

The thought is put in a very striking way in a well-known passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews:

“But now they the patriarchs desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city.”

Our Lord’s answer suggests the best way of assuring ourselves of this glorious hope. Let God be real to us, and life and immortality will be real too. If we would escape the doubts of old Sadducee and new Agnostic, we must be much with God, and strengthen more and more the ties which bind us to Him.

3. The next attempt of the Pharisees is on an entirely new line. They have found that they cannot impose upon Him by sending pretended inquirers to question Him. But they have managed to lay their hands on a real inquirer now — one of themselves, a student of the law, who is exercised on a question much discussed, arid to which very different answers are given; they will suggest to him to carry his question to Jesus and see what He will say to it. That this was the real state of the case appears from the fuller account in St. Mark’s Gospel. When, then, St. Matthew speaks of him as asking Jesus a question, “tempting Him,” we are not to impute the same sinister motives as actuated those who sent him. He also was in a certain sense tempting Jesus — i.e., putting Him to the test, but with no sinister motive, with a real desire to find out the truth, and probably also to find out if this Jesus was one who could really help an inquirer after truth. In this spirit, then, he asks the question,

“Which is the great commandment in the law?”

The answer our Lord immediately gives is now so familiar that it is difficult to realise how great a thing it was to give it for the first time. True, He takes it from the Scriptures; but think what command of the Scriptures is involved in this prompt reply. The passages quoted lie far apart — the one in the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy, the other in the nineteenth of Leviticus in quite an obscure corner; and nowhere are they spoken of as the first and second commandments, nor indeed were they regarded as commandments in the usually understood sense of the word. When we consider all this we recognise what from one point of view might be called a miracle of genius, and from another a flash of inspiration, in the instantaneous selection of these two passages, and bringing them together so as to furnish a summary of the law and the prophets beyond all praise which the veriest unbeliever, if only he have a mind to appreciate that which is excellent, must recognise as worthy of being written in letters of light. That one short answer to a sudden question—asked indeed by a true man, but really sprung upon Him by His enemies who were watching for His halting—is of more value in morals than all the writings of all the ethical philosophers, from Socrates to Herbert Spencer.

It is now time to question the questioners. The opportunity is most favourable. They are gathered together to hear what He will say to their last attempt to entangle Him. Once more He has not only met the difficulty, but has done so in such a way as to make the truth on the subject in dispute shine with the very light of heaven. There could not, then, be a better opportunity of turning their thoughts in a direction which might lead them, if possible in spite of themselves, into the light of God.

The question Jesus asks (vv. 41-45) is undoubtedly a puzzling one for them; but it is no mere Scripture conundrum. The difficulty in which it lands them is one which, if only they would honestly face it, would be the means of removing the veil from their eyes, and leading them, ere it is too late, to welcome the Son of David come in the name of the Lord to save them. They fully accepted the psalm to which He referred as a psalm of David concerning the. Messiah. If, then, they would honestly read that psalm they would see that the Messiah when He comes must be, not a mere earthly monarch, as David was, but a heavenly monarch, one who should sit on the throne of God and bring into subjection the enemies of the kingdom of heaven. If only they would take their ideas of the Christ from the Scriptures which were their boast, they could not fail to see Him standing now before them. For we must remember that they had not only the words He spoke to guide them. They had before them the Messiah Himself, with the light of heaven in His eye, with the love of God in His face; and had they had any love for the light, they would have recognised Him then — they would have seen in Him, whom they had often heard of as David’s Son, the Lord of David, and therefore the Lord of the Temple, and the heavenly King of Israel. But they love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil: therefore their hearts remain unchanged, the eyes of their spirit unopened; they are only abashed and silenced:

“No man was able to answer Him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions.”

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Preceding

Matthew 22:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of Invitation to a Marriage

Matthew 22:7-10 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Invitations after City’s Destruction

Matthew 22:11-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: King’s Inspection and Marriage Garments

Matthew 22:14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Many Invited – Few Chosen

Matthew 22:15-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Caesar’s Things and God’s Things

Matthew 22:23-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Sadducees Question on the Resurrection

Matthew 22:29-33 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Resurrection Proof from Moses

Matthew 22:34-40 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Which Is the Greatest Commandment

Matthew 22:41-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jesus Asks a Trump Question

Additional readings to Matthew 22:41-46

A Look of the Expositor Bible at The Marriage Feast {Matthew 22:1-14 }

Additional readings to Matthew 22:41-46

 

 

“41  While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 “What do you think about the Christ? {Or Messiah } Whose son is he?” “The son of David,” they replied. 43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, 44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”’ {Psalm 110:1 }45 If then David calls him ‘Lord’, how can he be his son?” 46 No-one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no-one dared to ask him any more questions.” (Mt 22:41-46 NIV)

“1  Why do the nations conspire {Hebrew; Septuagint rage } and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. {Or anointed one }3 “Let us break their chains,” they say, “and throw off their fetters.”” (Ps 2:1-3 NIV)

“Of David. A psalm. The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”” (Ps 110:1 NIV)

“34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’ {Psalm 110:1 } (Ac 2:34-35 NIV)

“1  Why do the nations conspire {Hebrew; Septuagint rage } and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. {Or anointed one }3 “Let us break their chains,” they say, “and throw off their fetters.” 4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. 5 Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, 6 “I have installed my King {Or king } on Zion, my holy hill.”
7  I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, “You are my Son; {Or son; also in verse 12 } today I have become your Father. {Or have begotten you } (Ps 2:1-7 NIV)

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, {Hebrew; Septuagint the blind } (Isa 61:1 NIV)

“”In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure for ever.” (Da 2:44 NIV)

“”In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.” (Da 7:13 NIV)

“After the sixty-two ‘sevens’, the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. {Or off and will have no-one; or off, but not for himself } The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.” (Da 9:26 NIV)

“24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put everything under his feet”. {Psalm 8:6 } Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.” (1Co 15:24-28 NIV)

“To which of the angels did God ever say, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? {Psalm 110:1 } (Heb 1:13 NIV)

“12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool,” (Heb 10:12-13 NIV)

“who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” (1Pe 3:22 NIV)

“12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool,” (Heb 10:12-13 NIV)

“I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”” (Mt 16:28 NIV)

“”Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”” (Mt 26:64 NIV)

*

 

 

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Preceding

Matthew 22:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of Invitation to a Marriage

Matthew 22:7-10 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Invitations after City’s Destruction

Matthew 22:11-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: King’s Inspection and Marriage Garments

Matthew 22:14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Many Invited – Few Chosen

Matthew 22:15-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Caesar’s Things and God’s Things

Matthew 22:23-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Sadducees Question on the Resurrection

Matthew 22:29-33 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Resurrection Proof from Moses

Matthew 22:34-40 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Which Is the Greatest Commandment

Matthew 22:41-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jesus Asks a Trump Question

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Additional reading

  1. Death
  2. Memorizing wonderfully 72: Colossians 3:1: Christ seated on the right hand of God

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Related articles

  1. A Promise of our King – Psalm 2
  2. Ps.2 True freedom
  3. Meditations:Psalm-2:1-4-“concordat of the ungodly”Psalm 2:7-9 – 7/6/19Psalm 2:10-12 – 7/14/19
  4. Overcoming by Trusting God, Psalm 2:7-8
  5. Seeing The Radiance Of His Glory
  6. Genesis to Revelation in one chapter: Psalm 110
  7. The Lesser Is Blessed By The Greater
  8. The Divine Prophetic Thread – From Melchizadek Through David To Jesus Christ
  9. Jesus Christ Is Our High Priest Of The New Covenant
  10. Jesus, Our Guarantee Of A Better Hope Through His Better Covenant
  11. How Blessed #3
  12. The Identity of the Messiah
  13. Concerning Him We Have Much To Say
  14. A Door of Hope, Part 1Father, Forgive Them – Part 5
  15. One stop and its all done
  16. The years of the right hand of the Most High: Psalm 77
  17. Seated in the Heavenly Places: The Ascension of Our Lord
  18. At the Right Hand of God
  19. Does Jesus show His Preeminence by His exaltation to the Father’s right hand?

Matthew 16:21-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Think God’s Thoughts

Matthew 16:21-23 – Think God’s Thoughts

|| Mark 8:31-33

MT16:21 Beginning at this moment Jesus Christ[1] started revealing[2] to his disciples that it was a necessity he go to Jerusalem and suffer very much because of the [Jewish] elders, chief priests and scribes – to be killed and raised up the third day.[3] MT16:22 But, Peter confronted Jesus[4] and began giving him a rebuke,[5] saying, “Courage,[6] Master, that will not happen to you!” MT16:23 Now Jesus turned away [from Peter][7] and said: “Get away from me, Satan![8] You are scandalous to me[9] because you are not minding the things of The God[10] but human [thoughts]!”

*

[1] Jesus Christ: The full name and title of the Nazarene is rare in the Gospels. Compare Matthew 1:1 {A bible of a genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham}; Matthew 1:18 {But thus was the genesis of Jesus Christ. His mother Mary had been promised in marriage to Joseph. Before they came together she was found to be pregnant from the holy Pneuma.}; Mark 1:1; John 1:17; John 17:3. – The Greek is KHRISTOU and means one christened or anointed. A Hebrew bias word would be, Messiah. – The form Jesus Christ occurs 150 times in the Christian Bible, the most often in the Letter to the Romans. The phrase means “Jesus the christened one; or Jesus the Messiah; Jesus the Anointed.”

[2] Started revealing: Or, KJV: shew; RIEU: began to make it clear; WMS: first time clearly taught; TCNT: began to explain; BECK: kept point out. There is now a prophetic drive toward destiny in Jerusalem.

[3] Third day: The first use of “third day” though the strong inference has been made earlier. See notes on Matthew 12:40. In the Gospel of John Jesus the subject early without the disciples understanding it (John 2:20).

[4] Peter confronted Jesus: Or, KJV: Peter took him; RHM: taking him aside; NEB: took him by the arm. Our imaginations are stirred by exactly what happened.

[5] Rebuke: Or, KNX: remonstrating; WMS: chide; NOR: protestingly said; BECK: started to correct him; MON: reprove him. The very thought startles us. Peter has just confessed the Nazarene to be the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, and he feel emboldened to correct Jesus. On the other hand it may tell us more about Jesus: that Peter would even feel he could approach his Lord with words of concern and courage. Surely, Jesus is approachable.

[6] Courage: The Greek is HILEOS. Or, KJV: be it far from thee; RHM: mercy on thee; RSV: God forbid; RIEU: heaven save you; KIT: propitious; WMS: heaven shield you; GDSP: God bless you. We see Peter’s impetuous grasp of his Master at what he has just heard as though he were at once holding him back and at the same time moving him out of range of the others.

[7] Jesus turned away [from Peter]: Or, RIEU: turned his back on him; PME: turned around. He must release himself from Peter’s panicked grasp.

[8] Get away from me, Satan: KJV: get thee behind me, Satan; PME: out of my way; NEB: away with you, Satan; TCNT: get out of my way, you Satan. The words are surely curt and firm. They are not a slip of the tongue, but thought out for Peter has a serious flaw in his character. This will manifest itself later. Jesus has already said this once before at Matthew 4:10. There it was directed to the real Satan in person. Here it is an unwilling instrument whose suggestion resists the will of God. See notes also at Matthew 12:26. Compare Mark 8:33. + Satan: The name means “Resister; Rebel; Apostate.” The name occurs 68 times with the first occurrence at 1 Chronicles 21:1. It occurs most often (17) in the Book of Job.

[9] You are scandalous to me: The Greek is SCANDALON. Or, KJV: offense; ASV: stumbling-block; KNX: a stone in my path; RIEU: a snare in my path; TCNT: hindrance; BECK: tempting me to sin.

[10] You are not minding the things of The God: Or, KJV: though savourest; RHM: not regarding; RSV: not on the side of; WEY: thoughts are not God’s thoughts; GDSP: you do not side with God; MON: no intent on what pleases God; TCNT: you look at things, not as God does. Compare 1 Corinthians 2:16. This could be rendered: You are ignorant of God’s mind but use human thinking.

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Preceding

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:8-11 – A Temptation to Gain World Rule

Matthew 12:22-30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: the Charge of Demonism

Matthew 16 Asking for signs from heaven

Matthew 16 Calvin’s view

Matthew 16 Spurgeon’s view

Matthew 16:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Signs of the Times

Matthew 16:5-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Watch Out for the Leaven of False Teaching

Matthew 16:13-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Building a Hades-Proof Congregation

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Additional reading

  1. Did the Inspirator exist
  2. Most probable and accurate image of Jesus Christ according British scientists
  3. The Christ, the anointed of God

Matthew 16:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Signs of the Times

CHAPTER SIXTEEN:
SIGNS, LEAVEN, A ROCK, A REBUKE,
AND SELF-SACRIFICE

[“Who Am I?”]
(Key word: Congregation)

Matthew 16:1-4 – The Signs of the Times

|| Mark 8:11-13; Luke 12:54-56

MT16:1 Here in Magadan the Pharisees and Sadducees approached Jesus to tempt him, requesting some display as a sign from heaven.[1] MT16:2 But Jesus answered them, saying, “When evening comes you say, ‘The red sky means[2] fair weather.’ MT16:3 And at dawn, ‘Gloomy winter for the sky is red.’ Surely you know how to distinguish the face of the sky but signs of the times[3] you are unable. MT16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeks a sign[4] and no sign will be given it save the sign of Jonah.”[5] With that Jesus departed leaving them behind.

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[1] A sign from heaven: Compare notes on Matthew 12:38.

[2] Red sky means: The ancient sailors saying: “Red sky at night – sailor’s [shepherd’s] delight; red sky in the morning – sailor take warning.” [א, B, Syc,s, Arm omit verses 2, 3]

[3] Signs of the times: The only occurrence of the phrase and generally rendered as it is. Luke 12:56 puts it, “how to examine this particular time.” (NWT)

[4] Generation seeks a sign: Compare Mark 8:12. Without prophetic support the opposers of Jesus wanted some sign from God proving the Nazarene was a prophet. One wonders how much more they wanted to prove the carpenter was the Messiah. Of the four Gospels it is John who uses the word “signs” the most. Compare John 2:11, 23; 3:2; 4:48; 6:2, 14, 26; 7:31; 9:16; 11:47; 12:37; 20:30. Jesus does not perform signs merely because someone or a group demands this of him. In the end the signs did not move most people. Some agreed that Messiah could not perform more signs.

[5] Sign of Jonah: See notes on Matthew 12:39.

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Preceding

Matthew 12:38-42 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Signs in Jonah and the Queen of the South

Matthew 16 Asking for signs from heaven

Matthew 16 Calvin’s view

Matthew 16 Spurgeon’s view

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Related

  1. Blind to the Signs.
  2. Picture of the Week 05/29/18

Matthew 16 Spurgeon’s view

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.

**

+

Preceding

Matthew 12:38-42 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Signs in Jonah and the Queen of the South

Matthew 16 Asking for signs from heaven

Matthew 16 Calvin’s view

++

Additional reading

  1. Science, scepticism, doubts and beliefs Can a Christian have doubts?
  2. May we have doubts
  3. Know by trying
  4. Faith is knowing there is an ocean because you have seen a brook.
  5. Doubting and going astray
  6. Have faith in your faith…doubt your doubts
  7. When you don’t know what to do and hate yourself
  8. Let me keep to “first importance” things

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Related

  1. This Wicked and Perverse Generation
  2. Faithless and Twisted.
  3. Timeline for the Lord’s Coming
  4. God is speaking – are you listening?
  5. Watch and Pray
  6. The Meaning of End Time Signs
  7. Time to Awake Church

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