Daily Word

See the signs | Matthew 16:1-4

1 Now the Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus [to get something to use against Him], they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven [which would support His divine authority]. 2 But He replied to them, “[ a ]When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3 And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and has a threatening look.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but cannot interpret the signs of the times? 4 An evil and [morally] unfaithful generation craves a [miraculous] sign; but no sign will be given to it, except the sign of [the prophet] Jonah.” Then He left them and went away.

Matthew 16:1-4 (AMP)

Sans disciples

After Jesus fed the 4,000 in yesterday’s passage, we’re told He got into a boat and headed for the region of Magadan. What we didn’t pick up on is that He went by Himself, sans disciples. So when He faces the Pharisees and Sadducees, He is alone. Not that He needs His disciples for this, but remember He is human, so having some friends with you when you are attacked is always nice. Plus, these are opportunities for the disciples to learn.

Testing the Master

So the religious leaders (Pharisees and Sadducees) come yet again to the Master. They ask the same thing as in Matthew 12:38–41 and Jesus gives the same reply. They want to test Him. The AMP version adds the note, “to get something to use against Him”, so they had something to pin on Him. They ask for a miracle. A sign from Heaven would do the trick. Maybe a little fire from heaven like what Elisha did (1 Kings 18:37-38).

See the signs

But as previously, Jesus doesn’t give them what they want. He is not a showman. He only does what the Father does (John 5:19). More importantly, He’s already given them many signs. They just need to look around. Surely they heard of the feeding of the 4,000 a few days ago, or the feeding of 5,000 prior to that. And all the miraculous healings. They don’t need signs, they need repentance and faith. 

In verse four He really lays into them and does not pull any punches. They are an evil and morally unfaithful generation. The implication is the Pharisees are a large part of why the people are like they are for they have led them astray. “There were prophecies, circumstances, and evidences that should have made it clear to them as signs of the times that the Messiah had come.” (enduringword.com) And I don’t think that that issue is that they couldn’t see them. Rather, they didn’t want to see them. They chose spiritual blindness. 

Sign of Jonah

So what is the sign of Jonah? “The phrase ‘sign of Jonah’ was used by Jesus as a typological metaphor for His future crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.” (gotquestions.org) Jonah was also similar in that he was sacrificed to save others, he was dead (basically) and buried (in the water) then raised to life after 3 days. 


  • How can we reach the unsaved around us? Many choose spiritual blindness over the truth. Surely we need to love them and share the truth with them. Asking God to remove their spiritual blindness is probably the most effective since no argument can convict someone of sin leading to repentance.
  • Are you spiritually blind? Consider Jesus. Click here for more.
Seoul Korea signs. Image from Pxfuel.com

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