Asking for a sign – and another – and another…

‘The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test Jesus they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered: “It is a wicked, godless generation that asks for a sign; and the only sign that will be given it is the sign of Jonah.” With that he left them and went away.’ (Matthew 16.1-4 REB)

What sort of a sign did the Pharisees and Sadducees want, to prove Jesus’ credentials? Just a few verses before, we read about ‘the dumb speaking, the crippled made strong, the lame walking, and the blind with their sight restored’ (Matthew 15.31 REB). What more impressive sign could be asked than that?

But Jesus knew that no sign on earth would satisfy these people, because the root problem was that they didn’t want to believe in him. That’s why he refused to play that game. Those who are looking for an excuse not to believe in Jesus will always be able to find one. No proof is one hundred percent watertight. To those who already believe, miracles may strengthen their faith, but to those who do not want to believe, miracles will rarely change their minds.

Lord Jesus, you call us to the risk of faith in you. Help us not to be scared of that risk. Even though we’re not absolutely certain, help us to step out with you, and to grow in faith as we walk with you. Amen.

(Today’s One Year Bible readings are Genesis 48:1 – 49:33, Matthew 15:29-16:12, Psalm 20, and Proverbs 4:20-27)

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