We just got through Halloween and all that trick and treating stuff. Usually “tricks” are silly, some maybe a little scary, but most are not intended to damage. That would not the case with the Matthew 16 passage today. Damage is the focus.
The religious leaders desire to silence Jesus. They were waiting for Jesus when he returned to Galilee. The Pharisees, of course, were the traditionalists of their day, while the Sadducees were quite liberal. They united to issue a challenge to Jesus: “Show us a sign from heaven and we will believe you are the Christ.” The word translated sign means much more than simply a miracle or a demonstration of power. It means a wonder by which one may recognize a person or confirm who he is.
They looked to “trick” this carpenter from Nazareth who had such a following. But Jesus nails them with these words: “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” Matthew 16:4 (ESV)
Jonah’s three days in the belly of the great fish was a prelude of Jesus three days in the tomb and his glorious resurrection. That’s a “trick” they were never prepared for.
Prayer: Lord, bring us to have faith, through the sign of your cross. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Thomas W. Corbell, Pastor of Mt. Hermon Lutheran Church in Statesville, NC.