WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?
Lord, keep me in the family of believers.
Read MATTHEW 12:38–50
38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”
39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.
43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”
48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
We are either friends or enemies of God. There is no middle ground.
The religious authorities’ attack on Jesus continues. This time, they ask him for a sign like those in the Old Testament to authenticate a leader appointed by God or some prophet’s message. It is not that Jesus has failed to perform any signs: he has been performing them in abundance, prompting the crowds to respond by saying, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel” (Matt. 9:33). Despite the many signs and wonders that Jesus has done, the Pharisees want him dead (14) and attribute his power to Satan (24). Now they are seeking more signs to authenticate Jesus’ ministry—or, more likely, to look for further reasons to get rid of him.
Jesus responds by indicating that those who continually question the work of God are part of a “wicked and adulterous generation” (39), not unlike when Israel was portrayed as an adulterous wife (Hos. 1–3) and labeled as a “warped and crooked generation” (Deut. 32:5) in the Old Testament. The religious leaders are no different from their ancestors wandering in the desert, who witnessed many signs and yet refused to believe. Jesus points out that the religious leaders would be condemned by the pagans of Nineveh who repented and by the queen of Sheba, who sought Solomon’s wisdom (41,42). If they persist in their opposition to Jesus, they are in danger of being excluded from the kingdom of God.
In contrast to the Pharisees, Jesus declares that those who obey his words and do the will of God are his true disciples, members of his spiritual family (48–50). This passage leaves us with a choice—will we reject or will we heed his words? Are we the true family of God or the opposition? Which part of the fence do you occupy?
“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15).
Lord, I do not require a sign from You because my birth into Your kingdom is sign enough.