A Sign, Any SIgn

    Today we are looking at a massive storm travelling up the coast towards New York and the effects of this storm are predicted to be devastating. The technology we have to monitor these weather activities is absolutely amazing. You can watch the storm from the sky and follow exactly where it is going. The computer gives detailed time and place predictions as to where the storm will hit and how hard. They are even showing the surge levels of the water as the ocean rises. Every news station is covering this monster storm. I cannot help but think of the words of Jesus to the Pharisees.  Matthew 16:1 “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 bottom line here in this passage was Jesus was confronting a group of people who absolutely refused to believe in Him even though there were signs to show it.  He was the sign and they missed it. People often get this sign word mixed up. This passage is surrounded by signs and wonders such as demons cast out, feeding of the four and five thousand. That’s not what Jesus was talking about. If you go back a little to Matthew 12, Jesus was God’s chosen servant 18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.” Right after the Pharisees want people to believe Jesus is demonic. The Pharisees thought Jesus was demonic because he cast out demons. Jesus knew their thoughts and told them the “if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” This absolute refusal to believe the spirit of God will not be forgiven. Jesus goes on to describe them as a brood of vipers, a wicked and adulterous generation who asks for a sign!  He then tells them “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.” He then says in Matthew 15, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.
    The Pharisees refused to believe what was right before them. The Pharisees wanted God to stop the sun for them like when “8 Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, “What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the Lord on the third day from now?” 9 Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?” 10 “It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.” 11 Then the prophet Isaiah called on the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.” When Jonah preached people repented. When Jesus preached they refused. We do not want to be like the Pharisees and refuse to repent and believe Jesus. What we have right before us in God’s word is enough to believe, we do not need to test God and have the sun stand still or move back. When the sun and moon change it will be too late. Luke 21:25 There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” As we see the these storms let us be a repentant, believing people who are prepared for the return of the Son of Man.