Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Matthew 16:1–4

Matthew 16:1–4 (ESV): The Pharisees and Sadducees Demand Signs


In this passage the Pharisees and Sadducees approach Jesus and ask him for a sign from heaven, to test him. But Jesus doesn’t even bother with them:

He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed. (verses 2–4 (ESV))
Short, and to the point!


As stated in verse 1 (ESV)—when it says that they are “testing” Jesus—the Pharisees and Sadducees are not actually looking for proof that Jesus is who he claims to be; they’ve already made up their minds that he’s not, and are simply looking for evidence to back up their claims. Jesus doesn’t bother to give them one, but he does tell them that they should already have enough evidence as it is; they are simply not able (or not willing) to interpret “the signs of the times” (verse 3 (ESV)).

On “the sign of Jonah,” I’ll be lazy and simply quote the ESV Study Bible rather than putting it in my own words:

Jonah’s being rescued by God was a sign to the people of Nineveh that his message was from God. Jesus’ death and resurrection (see 12:40 (ESV)) will likewise be God’s sign to the present generation.

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