Give Me a Sign
Read Mark 8:11-13
– Jesus’ ministry is in full swing. He is well known for his miracles, and crowds follow him everywhere.
– He has just come across the Sea of Galilee, after feeding the 4000, ready to do more ministry.
– The Pharisees hear that he arrived, and go out to pick a fight with him. (Not the first time!)
– Pharisees were Jewish scholars, mostly God-fearing, law-abiding citizens that taught strict adherence to Old Testament law. (Some of them loved God, some just loved position.)
– They taught people to believe that sin could be eradicated by strictly following the law.
– Jesus opposed them because they were leading people away from God’s plan for redemption. (Jesus’ message was in direct contradiction to the Pharisee’s message.)
1. Why are they arguing with Jesus.
– The Pharisees are demanding a “miraculous sign”, but what are they looking for that Jesus hasn’t already done?
– Jesus had fulfilled Old Testament prophecy:
– Jesus fulfilled 61 different details of prophecies that speak of the coming Messiah.
– So far Jesus had been born of a virgin, from the family line of King David, born in Bethlehem but from Nazareth, preformed many miracles, and was rejected by his own people. (The Pharisees are actually fulfilling prophecy by their own behavior!)
– Jesus had done many miracles, and this was well known!
– The lame walk, the blind see, and the deaf hear. He healed many people, cast out demons, fed the 5,000, and raised the dead. All of these were done before hundreds of people.
– Example: Read Luke 7:11-17 (Jesus brings the widows son back to life.)
– Being OT scholars, it should have been easy for them to recognize the signs of the Messiah.
– They had built their lives around what they thought it said, instead of what it really said.
– They were servants of their religion, NOT of their GOD.
– The Pharisees wanted direct proof from heaven, but I don’t think that they would have believed it, even if they did get it.
– Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” (Their reputation and lively hood are in question.)
– John 12:37, Despite all the miracles and signs Jesus had done, most of the people still didn’t believe in him.
2. Here’s your sign.
– People often ask for a “miraculous sign”, and sometimes God will give it to them.
– Example: Gideon, in Judges 6: The Midianites have oppressed the Israelites for 7 years. Destroyed their fields, killed their livestock, and attacked their camps.
– Judges 6:14-18, Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.” Gideon replied, “If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the Lord speaking to me. Don’t go away until I come back and bring my offering to you.” He answered, “I will stay here until you return.”
– Verse 36, Then Gideon said to God, “If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, prove it to me in this way. (He laid out the fleece: wet night 1, dry night 2)
– How does Gideon get away with this? He sees that this is an impossible task, he is willing to obey, he just doesn’t believe he CAN.
– He doesn’t doubt God, he doubt himself. His heart wants to grow in confidence.View image on Twitter
– Example: Doubting Thomas. He was one of the 12 disciples, but not present when Jesus first appeared to the other disciples. He didn’t believe their reports, and wanted proof for himself.
– Thomas said, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, and put my fingers in them” (That’s kind of extreme! But this was unbelievable news.)
– 8 days later, Jesus shows up and says to Thomas, “Here are my hands, put your fingers here. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”
– He knew everything Jesus had already done, and still had doubts. Now seeing the proof he responds in John 20:28, “My Lord and my God!”
– We always criticize Thomas for doubting, but aren’t WE like that too?
– My father said he identified with Thomas. He had the knowledge but didn’t really believe it.
– He had heard it, and read it, but when he spoke it, “My Lord and my God”, he believed it!View image on Twitter
** Having doubts is not the problem. Resisting the proof is!
– Gideon, Thomas, and my dad all had a heart condition motivated by obedience to the Lord’s call. They want to know the Lord more, they just needed a little boost.
– To all the “Doubting Thomas’” out there, and to all of us, “Here’s your sign!”
– Why won’t Jesus give the Pharisees proof that he is in fact, the Messiah?
– HE HAS! They just won’t accept it or believe it!
– They aren’t looking for a sign, they are looking for an excuse NOT to believe.
– They just want to argue, and will find fault with anything Jesus does or says.
** Having the facts is great, but don’t let your knowledge OF God replace your relationship WITH God.
– Jesus WILL give them the sign. The sign of the Prophet Jonah.
– Read Matthew 12:38-41
– This foreshadows the “miraculous sign” they are looking for; the resurrection!
– If they understood it, they would have stopped it. (They had him killed, & fulfilled prophecy!)
– “One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it.” – Master Oogway
3. Stop asking for proof, and start having faith.
– This scripture says that Jesus “…sighed deeply in his spirit…”. Obviously he was very disappointed with their response to his ministry. “Why do they keep demanding a sign?”
– Jesus wasn’t disappointed because they didn’t understand him, because many people didn’t understand the significance of his life, until his death. (Even his own disciples abandoned him.)
– He was disappointed because, even with everything they DID see, they chose not to believe.
– Heb. 11:1, Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.
– Jesus isn’t asking you to have “blind faith”. But, just because you can’t prove it, doesn’t mean that you lack evidence.
– Example: MCIWS, Gunny fear of jumping off the tower into the pool. I showed him how it works and did it first. I couldn’t prove he would be successful. He had to trust me.
– The resurrection is all the evidence we will ever need. (Empty tomb, alive again to hundreds…)
– Destroying THIS fact would destroy all of Christianity! (People willingly died for this truth!)
– Are you asking for proof like Gideon; willing but scared, needing some hope to move forward?
– Or are you asking for proof like the Pharisees; hoping to find a loophole to not fully believe?
– Jesus has shown us the way, set the example, and given us the evidence. What else do you need?!
– John 20:30-31, The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.
– alter call, and prayer –