Summary: Jesus came briging the truth, but it wasn
Passage: Matthew 12:38-45
Intro: We love to have all the facts when we make a decision.
1. buy a car, a house, we want written guarantees, inspections, service records, etc.
2. if we are going to part with money, sign up for payments, we have conditions we want met, and when we are satisfied, then we sign and pay.
3. good stewardship, wise business practice, safeguards.
4. it may surprise us, but it shouldn’t, that God doesn’t exactly work that way.
6. this passage we have here makes that case very plainly.
7. God’s goal is different, and that purpose changes the process dramatically.
8. Jesus is going to explain the process here in this little interchange with the Pharisees.
I. The Demand: Meet Our Standards.
1. can’t be really certain from the text if this statement by Pharisees was part of the earlier conversation
2. but the statement itself is quite clear, and in the context, striking.
3. Jesus had done many miracles, including the systemic healing of blindness, muteness and demonic possession in one man.
4. in that general context of powerful revelation, the religious leaders make a startling request.
5. show us a sign= semeion
6. need to make sure we understand the Jewish context of this word, because we would normally say, “what more do you want???”
7. the Jews saw a sign as “some miraculous token to be fulfilled quickly, or at once, to fulfill a prophecy.”
8. here is an OT example
9. so a clear prediction or something outside of normal human control, then the following through of that prediction with appropriate action.
Il) for instance, I could say, “When I stop speaking, a bolt of lightning will strike the tree nearest the doors and burn it up.”
PP Lightning strikes tree (or video)
10. perhaps Jesus could point to some Roman soldiers and kill with all with a word of command.
11. but they wanted him to perform, but meet their standards of what constituted a true sign from God.
12. great similarity to the temptations Jesus suffered in the wilderness.
13. force God’s hand, take over the revelatory plan of God and knock our socks off with something big.
14. then we’ll believe you, if you do it our way, according to our plan, meeting our standards.
15. this is the crux of the process.
16. God is seeking to build trust, and that means He calls us to believe His revelation, to believe what He says, and not to create our own set of questions that He must answer to our satisfaction.
Il) like a child sitting at the dinner table glaring at the culinary offerings of his mother and snarling, “what else ya got? Where’s the ice cream?”
17. you wouldn’t think this polite request for more proof would cause trouble, but it did.
18. because there is a principle at stake.
II. To Reject the Revelation is to Reject the Revealer
Il) our daughter has a sign in her dining room. Dinner Menu, Take it, Leave it
1. Jesus responded to this request with a strongly worded principle.
2. a characteristic of a wicked and unfaithful person/people is the demand for a specific sign of my/our choice.
3. word “asks” here = “demanding as a necessary preliminary to faith”
PP) someone builds a rope bridge across a large chasm, and then invites you to walk across it, the first customer. You say, PP “You go first!”
4. Jesus responds, you will get a sign; a sign that God intends to give.
5. “Jonah went into the fish and came out. I will go into the earth and come out.”
6. but then he goes further, repeating the same theme as he addressed back in chapter 11
7. godless Gentiles have had less revelation and responded to it appropriately.
8. Why does God do this? Why does He reveal himself and hold people responsible for their response?
9. why doesn’t He ask us what would satisfy us and then do that? Here’s why
10. because He is seeking to build trust; a trust that was broken by sin and is crucial to our relationship to Him.
PP Hebrews 11:6, (context is OT saints)
11. and when judgment comes, the big question will be “How did you respond to the revelation that I gave to you?
12. did you respond with faith, believing what I said and acting on that belief?
13. or did you put your hands on your hips and say, “Is that all you’ve got? I need more. Here’s the list that will satisfy me, to bring me into a trust relationship with you.
14. and that is not trust. That is never- ending distrust and doubt.
15. now isn’t there a third option? How about instead of trust or doubt, we just do nothing?