Matthew – God’s Purposes
Religious leaders of Jesus day are questioning and baiting Him yet again. “Show us a sign…” Let me put in our language of today the words Jesus responds with, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” (I’m smiling). Of course Jesus responds with greater wisdom than our paraphrase but it comes close to the seriousness of this request from those who don’t know Jesus and don’t want to know Jesus. (Now, I’m not smiling, this makes my heart hurt as it must of hurt the heart of our Savior and Lord.)
Matthew 12, NLT
The Sign of Jonah
38 One day some teachers of religious law and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign to prove your authority.”
39 But Jesus replied, “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.
41 “The people of Nineveh will stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here—but you refuse to repent. 42 The queen of Sheba will also stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for she came from a distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Now someone greater than Solomon is here—but you refuse to listen.
43 “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept, and in order. 45 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before. That will be the experience of this evil generation.”
The True Family of Jesus
46 As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 47 Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, and they want to speak to you.”
48 Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” 49 Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. 50 Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT:
How many times have you heard our generation ask for a sign from God? I want to know what he wants so I’m asking for a sign. Most of the time we know what God wants but we are fighting our sinful nature and selfishness as we decide to trust and obey…or not.
Those who humbly repent with no desire to go back to their sin don’t need a sign. Those with the faith of a mustard seed in God don’t need a sign. Those who believe, trust and obey with “childlike” faith (not childish, there is a difference) don’t need a sign. We humans look for people with the wisdom of Solomon for advice and help to find our way in this world, but there stands Jesus waiting to give us all we need. “Ask and it shall be given…”, says Jesus.
When we put all our trust, hope and faith in the One who died and rose again to pay for all the sin of the world for good, we don’t need another sign. We even become joint heirs to Christ, Son of God! We are family!
We end this passage with Jesus’ family coming to see Him in the midst of His God-given mission. He responds with, “Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”
AND nothing can separate from the family of God, writes Paul. (Romans 8, NLT) Listen to this!
Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love
31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[a]) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If we are as “convinced” as Paul, we don’t need a “sign” to do what God wants. If we are in close communion and communication with God, though the guidance of His Holy Spirit, we don’t need a sign. We just need to follow.
Dear Heavenly Father,
As people of faith, we look for You in every situation and circumstance. We listen for Your Holy Spirit to guide and direct us. But we don’t need a sign of Your greatness. We don’t need a sign of your power. You have redeemed us. You saved me. That’s all I need. I am redeemed and I know that I am. And I am grateful. Eternally grateful.
In Jesus Name, Amen