Church of Christ
Locks Cross Roads
1) Matthew 16:1 and following
This unholy coalition is as unlikely a union of forces as could be imagined. They temporarily join forces to battle a
common enemy. In fact, Jesus' supernatural message radically threatened the Pharisees' preference for human
traditions (Matthew 15:1-20). His attacks on profitable Sadducean rackets in the Temple (John 2:13-18) and His
teaching about the resurrection, angels, spirits and other supernatural phenomena supported the Pharisean views
against the Sadducees; consequently, these latter felt menaced. Politically, neither could ignore Him, because the
common people heard Him gladly (John 4:40-42 and 45, Luke 15:1, Mark 10:1, Luke 19:48). They must react with
speed and efficiency or lose their grip on the nation. Luke 4:42 and following, Matthew 4:23 and following, Luke
4:15, Luke 6:17, Matthew 7:28 through Matthew 8:1.
They asked Him to show them a sign from heaven - From the Sadducees' point of view, no such supernatural
interventions would really take place. However, if the ignorant populace and the hated Pharisees want to believe in
such, then let the Nazarene discredit Himself in the eyes of His followers by failing to produce them! From the
Pharisees' standpoint, He of all people, could not do them, because God would not sanction nor authenticate the
message or ministry of one who regularly contradicted their cherished traditions and standard messianic notions, so
certain were they of the divine approval of their views.
The particular weather signs mentioned by Jesus are characteristic of Palestine. The Lord is arguing this point with
dwellers in Palestine to whom these data would be common knowledge. Instead of meet their challenge with a
blazing burst of supernatural power, Jesus refused to grant them additional signs. His reasons are multiple:
1) Because they already possessed abundant and conclusive evidence, but deliberately misread it. Jesus'
criticism, spoken as it was in deep sorrow of spirit (Mark 8:12), has a light touch of satire in it which is neither
coarse, cruel nor brutal: "You are experts at seeing the cause-and-effect relationships in the natural world,
yet you cannot discern the same kind of relationships in the very area where you claim to be authorities, i.e.
in the world of the spirit, signs and God! You thereby disqualify yourselves to ask me for signs."
2) They had demanded a sign from heaven, so He bases His rebuttal on their wording. His answer repeats
heaven three times as if to say: "The very heaven where you demand that my proof must come, condemns
you for making such an ultimatum."
3) They already possessed the signs of the times, i.e. the evidence that they were then living in the days of the
Messiah. These are the same evidences that continued to convince the Apostles and other open-minded
people that Jesus was really God's Anointed (Matthew 16:16 and following).
Another motive for refusing to grant them a sign was the fact that He had already conceded them a spectacular
sign: "the sign of Jonah," (Matthew 12:39). What they lacked was not a sign, but sight, i.e. the desire to see the
obvious. But these men were blind to the moral glory of the Lord.