Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 65
Matthew:16:1-4 The Demand for a Sign
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:15:29-39 Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand
What is man doing?
First it was the Scribes and the Pharisees devotion:Matthew:12:38-45 (with nearly the exact same answer), now it is the Sadducee and Pharisees demanding a sign. The two have very little in common other than a hatred for Jesus. The Sadducee believe that only written law not oral tradition is true revelation from God and of divine authority over the nation; they were numerous in the legislative body the Sanhedrin where these types of legal issues would come up and be fought over. That the two are teamed up together against a cause as likely had not been seen since their opposition to the Baptist John devotion:Matthew:3:1-12 .
They are tempting Jesus to do something along the lines of halting or setting back the sun or parting the sky. He had just publicly performed the feeding of four with three intensive days of healing all that were brought to him. They are taking the risk that He will not perform anything on their account once again and thereby strengthen their case against His messianic claims. It is almost as if Satan is the hand behind the temptation as it is very similar to His direct attempts against Jesus in the wilderness devotion:Matthew:4:1-11 .
What is God doing?
"O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times"?
You think about the times they are in, it is hard from our perspective knowing what we know to see the times any differently. The nation has been 2/12ths of what it once was for more than 400 years. It hasn't seen a any prophet for more than 200 years. It is a puppet state passed around and trampled over from empire to empire. The Temple is in it's third and uncompleted rebuild. It's people are doubly cursed with sickness and possession and poor crops. The religious system is obviously divided, corrupt and oppressive. The prophetic time is at hand according to Daniel's famed clock. Substantial discussion and tension has surrounded the presence of Jesus since even before His birth. Like on Isaiah's scorched parched soil a tender young plant has come to thrive and prophecy after prophecy is falling into place in a man that does nothing else than obey His Father.
Further, both parties tremble when thinking of debating the man on scriptural terms; He has shredded their argument and the public perception of them at every opportunity with little effort. It is almost as if they walk into their own slapping stick every time they set out to slap Him down. They are in all respects blind to what is going on just as Jesus observes for us here.
Isaiah perhaps put it best saying "who hath seen the arm of the LORD?". The movement of that arm has been proven throughout this time and is about to be proven like at no other time.
"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".
Dejavu all over again! Of course Jesus talks of His own death and resurrection here. What greater miracle than dying for the sins of mankind swallowed by death, raising on the third day to deliver God's salvation message to an evil and judged heathen world, then unsimilarly ascending to the right hand throne of God in order for His enemies to be put under His footstool as prophesied for millennium could there be? The answer to these hypocrites is not no answer/no sign, it is the greatest sign of them all on top of every other sign already done. Sadly, they will be too blind and too in satanic compliance to see even that.
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
What else are we now being blind to? What might we also be tempting the Lord to do? Chances are high given our natures that there is something and that the something(s) are substantial. Are we again blind to the continuing movement of the LORD's arm? Are we just as easily labeled hypocrites and or a evil generation? Do we ever play into Satan's hand?
Best thing to do is to ask and prepare well to receive the answer. It may sting. It may be for a time down right crippling. But, certainly it is the best thing for us saints to do.
Next: devotion:Matthew:16:5-12 The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees