Summary: God cautions us about taking our eyes off of Him.
A Messiah Who Cautions His Disciples About Spiritual Blindness
Text: Matt. 16:1-12
1. Illustrations: Most products we purchase have labels warning about improper use. I found a great list of these kinds of warnings. Believe it or not, these are all real.
a. A label on a snow sled which says: "Beware: sled may develop high speed under certain snow conditions."
b. A fishing lure, with a warning that reads: harmful if swallowed.
c. A warning on an electric router made for carpenters cautions: “This product not intended for use as a dental drill.”
d. A warning label found on a baby stroller cautions the user to “Remove child before folding”
e. A container of underarm deodorant says, “Caution: Do not spray in eyes”
f. A cartridge for a laser printer warns, “Do not eat toner”
g. A cardboard car sunshield that keeps sun off the dashboard warns, “Do not drive with sunshield in place”
2. We can laugh about these, and think, who would be foolish enough to need such warnings?
a. But apparently someone did something goofy enough, or some lawyer, thinks somebody is, or will be, foolish enough, or should we say, stupid enough, to think about eating toner from a laser printer cartridge, or driving with the sunshade in place.
b. Thankfully, God gives us warnings that make much more sense.
3. He cautions us about:
a. Being spiritual thrill seekers
b. False Teaching
c. Being spiritually insensitive
1. Read Matt. 16:1-12
Proposition: God cautions us about taking our eyes off of Him.
Transition: First, the Lord cautions us...
I. About Being Spiritual Thrill Seekers (1-4).
A. The Only Sign
1. For some people the concept of "you wouldn't recognize a sign if it bit you" is very applicable.
2. Matthew tells us, "One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority."
a. The Pharisees and Sadducees were strange bed fellows indeed.
b. The Pharisees were legalistic separatists who demanded obedience to the traditions passed down by previous rabbis.
c. The Sadducees were rich aristocrats who rejected the traditions of the Pharisees.
d. They accept only the first five books of the Bible and denied the existence of angels, spirits, any afterlife, and the resurrection.
e. Above all they hated each other deeply.
f. The only one they hated more than each other was Jesus.
g. The only thing they agreed upon was wanting to get rid of Jesus.
3. They had seen the miracles of Jesus.
a. In John's Gospel he uses the Greek word for "sign" showing that these signs indeed pointed to Jesus divinity.
b. However, they wanted something more; something that was obviously from heaven.
c. Maybe something like fire coming down from heaven similar to Elijah on Mount Carmel.
d. They came acting sincere, but saw them for the hypocrites that they were (Horton, 337).
e. Asking for a sign after the Lord has already revealed himself is testing him.
f. This passage refers not to those who genuinely fear God yet ask for signs as an assurance of God's promise, but to those who seek grounds to disbelieve. (Keener).
4. Here is how Jesus responded to them. He said, “You know the saying, ‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; 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!"
a. Jesus was clearly frustrated with them. In Mark's account of this text (Mk. 8:14) he uses the word that is translated "he sighed deeply in his spirit."
b. The word means "to experience an emotional state of both grief and discouragement (Louw and Nidda, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Symantic Domains).
c. He tells them that it is absurd that they can interpret signs telling them what the weather will be like for the day, but they cannot see the obvious signs in front of them, meaning Jesus himself.
5. Finally, he tells them, "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. The language here points to Jesus resurrection.
b. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days, so Jesus would be in the tomb for three days but would rise from the dead.
c. In doing so he would triumph over the forces of darkness and prove beyond a shadow of doubt that he is the Messiah (Horton, 339).
d. "The sign of Jonah" is not some kind of sign that Jonah brings. Rather, Jonah is the sign.
e. His appearance was the sign to the people of Nineveh that his message was from the God, who had rescued him from death.