Intro: When it comes to Jesus, people can always find a reason not to believe he is the only way to experience the fullness of God, as well as connect to salvation. People are skeptical about such claims, because so many different religions profess to know, serve, and worship a god. Jesus himself taught it was possible for people to have a form of godliness, but their hearts be estranged and lawless (Mat 23:27-28). For this reason, Jesus came to offer the humble and repentant heart a relationship and an opportunity to learn the truth about God, because to know Jesus is to know God (John 10:14-15).
To experience the fullness of God in relationship is to discover his amazing attributes and character, to taste his perfect holiness, to experience his supernatural life, and live fueled by his powerful love. Jesus is the fullness of God in human form (Col 2:9). And, to take it a bit further, “So you (believers) also are complete through your connection with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority” (Col 2:10).
In our passage today, we encounter skeptics. The religious leaders—Pharisees and the Sadducees—of God’s people have failed to recognize Jesus as the long-promised Messiah (the Christ) even though he had been doing many miracles around them. These two groups of religious leaders were very different in their beliefs; they held very little in common. However, both groups did believe only God could provide a sign revealed in the sky. I guess one sky sign was not enough, because the miraculous star over Bethlehem marking the birthplace of Messiah—the Light of the World—did not convince them.
The Pharisees were fastidious about their rules and traditions and how honoring them gave favor with God. As well, the Pharisees honored the authority of the sacred Scriptures and writings and believed in the resurrection from the dead. The Sadducees only honored the Torah—5 books of Moses—and did not believe in the resurrection. Really, the only thing these two religious groups absolutely agreed on was to terminate Jesus.
If you have never chosen to begin a relationship with Jesus, please do so today. Skepticism has no power when we decide to trust our lives and understanding to Christ. We learn and experience the truth from the Living Lord to whom every knee will bow (Ro 14:11). The truth sets us free from further doubt and disbelief (John 8:31-32).
Matthew 16:1-4 NLT Leaders Demand a Miraculous Sign
1 One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.
2 He replied, “You know the saying, ‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; 3 red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’ You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times! 4 Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign, but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah” (a metaphor for Christ’s crucifixion, burial, and resurrection). Then Jesus left them and went away.
Prayer: Lord, you are living and loving us all the time. Thank you for making a home for us in your heart. Please continue to teach us about your perfect nature, character, and love in Jesus’ name. Amen.