December 14, 2020
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You" (Matthew 12:38).
A sign in the Bible is some event or activity, natural or supernatural, that authenticated a messenger and his message. It was usually a miracle with a clear meaning regarding something specific. Signs were used two ways in the Bible: 1) to convince, and 2) to confirm. When Moses was sent to Egypt to lead the Israelites out of slavery, he was given power to perform certain signs: turn his staff into a snake, turn the Nile River to blood, the plagues of frogs, gnats, flies, etc., in order to convince the Egyptians to release the Jews and to convince the Jews to follow his leadership.
Moses was given another sign. When he and the people camped at Mt. Sinai after leaving Egypt, they would worship God at the mountain. That was a sign confirming that God had delivered them; He had done just as He had promised.
The Pharisees and Scribes wanted a sign to prove to them Jesus was the Messiah. But they were faithless and Jesus saw right through them. They had just seen a spectacular sign of Jesus casting the demon out of the demoniac. According to their theology, only God could do that. But instead of believing Him to be the Messiah, they accused Him of being a servant of Satan. In short, they were not interested in a sign. They wanted to discredit Him. If He could not produce a sign for them, they would expose Him as a fraud. If He did produce a sign, they would discredit Him as a devil. They were an evil nest of snakes.
A lesson for us today is this: wanting a sign from God runs contrary to the nature of faith. Faith does not demand or rely on miraculous proof. If such is given, people would not believe and just explain it away. If they did believe, they wouldn’t believe for very long before asking for another sign from God. Such requests for signs challenge (tempt) God. God has given signs all around us to prove His existence, love, grace, mercy, power, etc. If you are a Christian you have the greatest sign of God living in you - the Holy Spirit. What more do you need from God to prove He loves you and is working in and through you to glorify Jesus?
“Father, satisfy my mind, spirit, and heart with the presence of Your Holy Spirit. Remind me daily that He authenticates faith in Jesus. He is the sign that saving faith is genuine. He is ample proof that Jesus is the Christ, my Lord and Savior, and that His leadership in my life is proof enough of Your working in my life. To Your honor and glory I ask, Amen.”