“Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he [Jesus] answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:38-40)
Why did these people ask Jesus for a sign? Were they honestly seeking proof that He was the Messiah? Or did they have an ulterior motive? Up until this passage in Matthew 12, you’ll see that Jesus had done plenty of miracles. So it wasn’t that they had never seen Him do anything supernatural.
Some of them may have asked Him because they hated Him and wanted to discredit and destroy Him. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount—Matthew 5-7—“…except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). How do you think they reacted to that statement? No doubt some snarled, “How dare He say that!” and were determined to destroy Him. Others among them may have been unsure, and maybe even heard the Pharisees arguing among themselves whether or not Jesus was the Christ.
When they asked Him for a sign, He could have said, “You want signs? Look at the sick people I’ve healed, the dead I’ve raised, and the devils I’ve cast out.” However, because he was God, He knew their thoughts. He was not trying to win arguments—He was trying to win souls. He saw past the sneaky motives of some and the uncertainty of others. He gave them the answer they needed IF they heeded it, and IF they were honestly seeking the truth. And this answer came from the source they already had: Scripture.
He referred to the book of Jonah in the Old Testament. He said that Jonah’s time in the whale’s belly was a preview of Jesus’ time in the grave before rising again. In a nutshell, the Lord’s basic answer to them was, “If you want a sign from God, look in God’s Word.”
John the Baptist was in prison at this time and sent two disciples to ask Jesus if He was the Messiah. Maybe he sent them because his faith was a little shaky. Ever feel that way? It can be encouraging to see that you’re not alone. Anyway, Jesus gave him the answer he needed. In part, His answer was, “The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Matthew 11:5). The boldface is added to the last part because Jesus’ most important reason for coming to earth was to die for sins, be buried, and rise again. That’s a description of the gospel. He came, most importantly, so people could receive Him as their Saviour and have forgiveness of sins and have eternal life.
As a cop, you deal with so much sin and wickedness. Did you ever want a sign from God that He’s still in control? Don’t wait for lightning or a booming voice from heaven. God gave us a reliable, detailed sign that He’s very real and very much in control. That sign is the Bible. He also gave a promise that those who are honestly seeking Him will find Him: “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). When you need to hear from God, take time to open your Bible. Most importantly, if you need to see how to have forgiveness of sins and eternal life, please click “Helpful Links” on the top menu and then “How Do I Go to Heaven?” on the dropdown menu.
Brian Miller 8/15/2018
Cleveland Baptist Church | 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 | 216.671.2822