ONLY THE ABBA KNOWS - PART 3
NO SIGN EXCEPT THE SIGN OF THE PROPHET JONAH
1Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. 2He answered and said to them, "When it is evening you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red'; 3and in the morning, 'It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. 4A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah." And He left them and departed. (Parallel in Mark 8:11-21)
In Jesus' day the Jews were obsessed with searching for apocalyptic signs that would indicate the dawn of the messianic age. They longed for the date that would announce the final war against Rome and its demonic allies and harbored a fierce hope for a millennial (1,000 year) age of peace.
Note confusion of the Three Kingdoms, their purpose, methods and power! Jesus' Kingdom was no threat to Pilate. It is not of this world. His is the Kingdom of Grace. In His Kingdom there are no swords other than the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. His is a Kingdom that produces faith within by the power of the Spirit. The Kingdoms of this world are kingdoms of outward, earthly power. Believers await the Kingdom of Glory.
v. 4 - "A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign" See also
· Luke 11:29-32 - one greater than Jonah is present. They expected detailed references to the zodiac, astrology, earthquakes, storms, etc. They would receive no such.
· Mark 13 - Jesus speaks to His disciples about the temple's destruction. Between that time and His return believers are to wait expectantly. No signs are given, however, by which believers may know for certain when He will come with great power and glory.
Jesus speaks about wars, earthquakes,
famines, persecutions, betrayals, hatred, the abomination of desolation,
tribulation, false messiahs, false prophets, darkened sun and moon,
fallen stars. Are these not signs? No! They are rather reminders to be
ever ready for the Master's return.
· John 7:31- And many of the people believed in Him, and said, "When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?"
· John 11:45-53- After Lazarus is raised the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, "What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation." The simply would not accept the great sign of Lazarus' resurrection. They rejected their own Messiah. So, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death.
Sign seeking easily becomes evil. It led to zealous rebellion and has often produced fighting, wars, mass suicide, brutality across the course of human history.
"Hypocrites!" - outward piety really disguises self-interest. The in-group stands at the center and glories in being the true Biblical students! They are the Gnostics of our day, the people in the know!
v. 2,3 -"When it is evening you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red'; and in the morning, 'It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening" - How extremely important is the weather to farmers. Jesus grew up in farming country. He knew that farmers had to understand the weather signs. In like manner He urges us to understand that ALL human efforts to "discern the signs of the times" (v.3) are doomed to failure.
SOME EXAMPLES OF MILLENNIAL FERVOR FROM HISTORY:
v. 4 - "no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah."
· Mark 8:11-12- 11Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him. 12But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, "Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation."
· Matthew 24:1-3 - 1Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down." Note again the context: magnificence of the temple buildings. Jesus foretells the destruction of the temple by Rome (70 A.D.) as a paradigm for the end. His coming will be sudden and unexpected, v. 26, as was the destruction of the temple. Note also that He firmly reminds us that "no one knows the day", v. 36. What follows are parables about being prepared because "you do not know the day or the hour," 25:13.
· The sign of Jonah -Jonah 2 - Jonah prays from the belly of the fish and is vomited on dry land after three days, nights. So Jesus rose on the third day.
· Luke 11:29-30 -this evil generation will only receive the sign of Jonah. All this is a reference to the resurrection, the Great Sign!
· John 2:19-22 - 19Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
Jesus warns against sign-seeking. On the one hand, those who are "in the know" are tempted to fall into spiritual pride. They are tempted to seek glory at the price of the wicked. On the other hand those who feel like they do not "know enough" are tempted to fall into anxiety, despair and doubt. Will they be among the elect?
1. What do you mean by a "sign" from
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