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i) Jesus Attacks Fanaticism and Shallowness
(Matthew 16:1-12)
1Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven.2He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’;3and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.4A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed. (Matthew11:4;12:38-40, Mark8:11-12, Luke12:54-56)

We have here Christ’s discussion with the Pharisees and Sadducees. These are men who disagreed among themselves, as it appears in Acts 23:7-8, and yet were unanimous in their opposition to Christ. Their unity was because Christ opposed the errors and heresies of the Sadducees, who denied the existence of spirits and spiritual life after death; as well as the pride, tyranny, and hypocrisy of the Pharisees, who were the great imposters of the traditions of the elders. Christ and Christianity meet with opposition on all sides.
The crowd came to Jesus to tempt him to perform a miracle in order for them to believe that He is the Christ and King. They were not satisfied with the miracles of healing He had done, such as casting out demons and raising the dead. They wished he might bring down fire from heaven upon the heads of the Romans to destroy them or stop the sun as a sign that He was sent of God. Generally, people do not want a faith that is built on repentance, but that which is built on tangible proofs in political and economical areas so that they do not have to repent.
Christ will not be commanded or tempted. He revealed their bad intentions. He made clear to them that although they were clever, they were unable to recognize Him. They were not willing to recognize the spiritual realities of the New Testament and pretended not to see the merciful works of Christ, though His actions were filled with God’s love. They also did not search according to the leading of the Holy Spirit but sought a political kingdom based upon the use of force. They did not seek the kingdom of God with kindness, forgiveness, and remission. This is why Christ called them, “A wicked and adulterous generation.”
There are many who are skilful in other fields but are unable to discern spirits and, therefore, fail to take advantage of today’s opportunities.
By this statement, Jesus explained the essence of mankind. In spite of the hardness of their hearts, the heavenly Father, lover of disobedient men, gave a unique sign through which we should recognize the glory of Christ. Just as the whale spit Jonah out of his mouth after the storm for the salvation of many, so death swallowed Jesus after the storm of His suffering on the cross. But God compelled death to deliver Him that He may give eternal life to the justified sinner. This is the greatest and the only necessary sign in the history of men, and it will be the decisive one in the final judgment.

Lord Jesus Christ, You are the sign of God in Your behavior and words, in Your miracles and resurrection. Your resurrection from the dead is the proof of infallibility of Your eternal life, everlasting prestige, and victory over death and Satan. We thank You and rejoice in Your triumph, and receive from You, by faith, the right and the power to participate in Your eternal life.
Why is Christ’s great resurrection the outstanding evidence of His divinity?