Matthew 12:33-42 Jesus Doesn’t Do As He’s Told

33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

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.

Jesus Doesn’t Do As He’s Told

Jesus, why are people so intent on doing what they want and not finding out what you want?  Who are we to make demands of you?  You don’t bow the knee to our agendas and we miss the grace you have poured out.  Why didn’t you provide a sign for those in Israel when they asked it of you?  It seems sincere enough: Show us a sign and we will follow you!  However, no miracle, no sign, no intervention is good enough for people who have their hearts hardened.  You do not reveal yourself to those who have contempt for you.  Not in any particular way, because they cannot see what you are about.

However, the general sign of death and resurrection is there for all to see.  You were told to stay dead and you didn’t.  The Pharisees had to make up an implausible story to cover up your death and resurrection.  The disciples and hundreds more claimed to have personally encountered the risen Lord.  You appeared to many who were then willing to be martyrs.  People say, “How can we know what happens after death when no-one comes back?”  However, when one does return from the dead, they say, “It’s too incredible to believe!”  You are greater than the prophet, Jonah.  You are greater than the king, Solomon.  You are the greatest prophet and king who has ever walked the earth, but you don’t affirm our agenda.  You don’t play by our rules.  You let people die.  You let people do evil.  You let people go their own way.  They will accuse you eternally from hell.  If only you had given them a sign.  It will be their fault that they did not look you out when they had the chance.  So many signs in life.  In death – silence.

Questions

  1. What kind of things do the Pharisees talk to Jesus about?
  2. What do they ask Jesus for in this passage?
  3. What is ‘evil’?  How does it apply to the core being of the Pharisees?
  4. Why does our evil generation say there is no ‘proof’ for God?
  5. What proofs has Jesus provided that are disbelieved and ignored?
  6. What are the consequences for ignoring Jesus’ signs?
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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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