August 11, 2022

Demand for a Sign

Matthew 16:1-4

“When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’”

—  Matthew 16:2-3

The month of August provides some of the warmest days of the year where I live. And in the morning, if the sky is red in the east, there is a good chance of stormy weather, just as people said in Israel back in Jesus’ day.

Jesus used that well-known pattern as a “heads up” to the Pharisees and Sadducees who had asked him to show them a sign from heaven. In return he used a sign of the heavens to test them about their belief in him as God’s anointed King.

They had already seen and heard about Jesus’ teaching and healing miracles, and they were inclined to dismiss them—and him as well. When it came to the gift that God had given them in Jesus, they had ears but could not hear, and they had eyes but could not see.

Jesus predicted another sign as well—not to satisfy their question but to announce that he would rise from the dead. Did you notice that he mentioned “the sign of Jonah”? This meant that just as Jonah was in the belly of a great fish for three days before being spit out on the shore, Jesus would be in a tomb, and on the third day he would rise from the dead.

Many of Jesus’ challengers missed that sign too. People still miss it today, but many see, believe, and live the resurrected life with Jesus. Are you living that life too?

Risen Lord, you are the giver of abundant life. Thank you for your amazing gifts. May we help others to see who you real­ly are. Amen.

About the author — Evan Heerema

Evan Heerema is a retired pastor who served churches in Washington state and in Michigan. He was also on the teaching staff at Kuyper College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for ten years. He and his wife are the parents of two daughters and the grandparents of two grandsons.

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