Advertisements

The Pharisees Question Jesus - James Tissot (1886-1894)

The Pharisees and Sadducees (prominent religious leaders in ancient Israel) came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. Jesus sighed and said,

“When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather for the sky is red’. When morning arrives you say, ‘Today it will be stormy for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation look for a sign, but none will be given except the sign of Jonah’”

Jesus then left them and went away.

What the story means to us today

Jesus and the Pharisees - Unknown artistMany people still require “more signs” to convince them of the Bible’s truth

It seems as if Jesus has barely returned from the Gentiles into Jewish territory when he is once again asked to produce a sign. It does not matter that he already provided many miracles and proof of his divinity. The Pharisees demand yet another sign – from heaven – as a test for Jesus. They are blind to Jesus’ works – the “signs of the time” are clear but lost on them. They will inevitably and continually require more “proof”

Many today still cannot discern the “signs”. We are provided ample proof in the Bible for all God’s works, enough to strengthen the faith of even the timid. However, many still question God’s word and require “more signs” to convince them of the Bible’s truth. Sadly, this condition of mankind will never subside.

Additional thoughts and considerations

The sign of Jonah

Recall from earlier verses, Jesus has already said,

Advertisements

“None will be given a sign except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a whale, so will the Son of God be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgement of this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah has arrived.”

The signs for the Pharisees have already been provided – the Old Testament Jonah and his confinement inside the belly of a large fish. Now Jesus’ stands right before them, but they still refuse to believe. Thus for them, the sign of Jonah, is all they will get.

Show me a “sign from heaven”

Pharisees Saduccees Tempt Jesus - James Tissot (1886-1894)By asking for a “sign from heaven”, the Pharisees were probably asking for a sign from God. However, they could have been asking a celestial sign in the sky too (e.g. eclipse or thunderstorm). Regardless, they are demanding Jesus again prove his is divine.

Bible Text

NIV

16 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.

2 He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ 3 and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. s 4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.

The New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. Print.

The NET Bible

16:1 Now when the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. 16:2 He said, “When evening comes you say, ‘It will be fair weather, because the sky is red,’ 16:3 and in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, because the sky is red and darkening.’ You know how to judge correctly the appearance of the sky, but you cannot evaluate the signs of the times. 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” Then he left them and went away.

Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press, 2006. Print.

New King James Version

16 Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; 3 and 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. 4 A 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.

The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.

Jesus Denounces the Scribes and Pharisees - etching by Friedrich Ludy (Unknown date)The Message

16 Some Pharisees and Sadducees were on him again, pressing him to prove himself to them. He told them, “You have a saying that goes, ‘Red sky at night, sailor’s delight; red sky at morning, sailors take warning.’ You find it easy enough to forecast the weather—why can’t you read the signs of the times? An evil and wanton generation is always wanting signs and wonders. The only sign you’ll get is the Jonah sign.” Then he turned on his heel and walked away.

Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005. Print.

King James Version

16 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. 3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? 4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009. Print.

Sources: NIV, The Message, The NET Bible, King James Version, NET Bible Notes, Faithlife Study Bible, The Apologetics Study Bible, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary, The Bible Reader’s Companion, Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Holman Concise Bible Commentary, The Bible Exposition Commentary, The Teacher’s Bible Commentary, The Teacher’s Commentary, The Bible Guide, Word Studies in the New Testament, Holman Bible Handbook, Calvin Commentaries, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines, The New Manner and Customs of the Bible, Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Bible Dictionary, Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Harper’s Bible Dictionary, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, The Archaeological Encyclopedia, Biblical Archaeology Review, The New Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Analytical Lexicon, Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Advertisements