Matthew 12:38-49 No Sign

38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”

39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.

43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”

48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

No Sign

Many people insist that God should prove his own existence and yet he stays hidden from them.  Some people insist that God should do their will and think that He is crazy because he doesn’t do what they expect.  Most people have expectations of God.  They expect God to make their lives better in ways that they define themselves.  We believe that Jesus is God.  Jesus seems to be just as difficult to nail down.  He won’t prove to skeptics his own deity and he won’t follow the commands and desires of his own family.  We think he should make it easy for us, but he communicates in ways that obscure his meaning.  He uses parables and proverbs rather than just saying it like it is.

We have made Christianity too simple.  We water it down in terms of its importance and its demands.  We would do anything to remove obstacles from people believing.  We waste time trying to reason with cynical atheists and we try everything to convince nice people that if they just add a little Jesus their lives won’t have to change too much.  I do think that we should be winsome, relevant, and persuasive, but I don’t think we need to water down the gospel and chase after people.  Why do you think that Jesus didn’t bother?  Why do we do what we do?

Questions

  1. Which two groups tried to bend Jesus to their will?
  2. Why didn’t Jesus do as they asked?
  3. Why is Jesus often making it difficult for people to work with him?
  4. How did you become a Christian?  Did people make it clear that your whole life was to be surrendered to Jesus unconditionally?
  5. What does it mean that God often hides himself from us or refuses to give us the assurance we think we need?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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