WHY DO YOU ASK?
Hold your hands palms up as you pray today to show God that you are fully surrendered to him.
Read Matthew 16:1–12
The Demand for a Sign
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. 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 Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees
5 When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6 “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
7 They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”
8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat circumstances in your life have tempted you to test God?
The request for a sign here (1) is very similar to the test Jesus faced in his 40-day wilderness ordeal. “Jump off the temple roof,” Satan dares him. “Get God to perform a miracle to save you.”
By way of reply, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:16: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test,” a verse which goes on to refer to an incident at Massah. In Exodus 17, the newly free Israelites are panicking about the lack of water. “Prove you can keep us alive,” they say to God, who had miraculously saved them from slavery not so long ago.
There are two warnings for us in Jesus’ response to the Pharisees and Sadducees in today’s reading. One is to look out for leaders and teachers who put God on display and misinterpret the signs so amply available (11). The other is to guard against putting God to the test ourselves (4). He has already proved himself. We have the “sign of Jonah”: the Son of Man who spent “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:40). Before we ask questions of God, let’s first question our motives and look for the answers we’ve been given.
Is there an area of your life in which you are wondering if God’s way is really the best way? Choose to trust him now and take the next step.
Father, I am sorry for not trusting You and for putting Your love and goodness to the test. Thank You for proving Yourself to me.