Google+ 12/16/12 We Want a Sign!

Mark 8:11-13

 

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had arrived, they came and started to argue with Him.

Testing Him, they demanded that He show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove His authority.

When He heard this, He sighed deeply in His spirit and said,

“Why do these people keep demanding a miraculous sign?

I tell you the truth, I will not give this generation any such sign.”

So he got back into the boat and left them, and he crossed to the other side of the lake. 

 

Our Scripture passage today will either inspire you to follow Jesus, or encourage you to be a Pharisee.  Let's set the scene.  Jesus has just finished feeding the crowd in the story of the fishes and the loaves.  This famous story is recounted in all four gospels.  Everyone has had their fill of food and there are 12 baskets of leftovers.  Jesus has just turned five loaves and two fishes into an "all-you-can-eat buffet" and anyone who needs a "doggie bag" can pick one up from the disciples on the way home!  The Bible says in Mark 8:10, that immediately upon completing this miracle, Jesus and the disciples entered into a ship and sailed into parts of Dalmanutha.  Before you get out your maps of the Holy Land during the time of Jesus and beyond, Dalmanutha is only mentioned in this Scripture verse and we are not sure of its location or identity.  The important aspect of this passage of Scripture is what happens next.  The Pharisees demand a "miraculous sign."   They begin to challenge and argue with Jesus.  They want Jesus to confirm His identity and prove that God is truly His Father.  Do we do this?  O yes we do.  We often call on God to show us a "physical sign" of what the Holy Spirit has whispered to us through prayer.  There are two motives for this, which were the same ones the Pharisees had in our Scripture today.  Either we want to confirm for ourselves who Jesus is, or we are trying to catch Jesus in a lie because we want to prove who Jesus is not. In the Pharisees case, we know which it is, because our Scripture today says they were "testing Him."  Jesus replies to them the same way He replies to us.   The Bible says that Jesus "sighed  deeply in His Spirit."  Remember, this is the Son of God that just fed the 5,000.  He has just instructed the adults to let the children come freely to Him.  Now, we want a sign?  Jesus says "I don't think so!"  As a matter of fact, He states clearly that He will not give them a sign.  Here is the most tragic part of our Scripture today, and the lesson we should learn.  Because the Pharisees keep demanding a sign and testing Jesus, He gets back in the ship and sails away.  Where does He go?  Back to the other side of the lake where the tempters cannot reach Him.  Good enough for Jesus, certainly good enough for me.  Let's get the message here.  Jesus does wonderful miracles in our life everyday.  If we look, watch, and pray, we know exactly who Jesus is.  We don't need to ask for proof.  We shouldn't ask for proof.  Jesus sighs deeply in His spirit when we ask for proof.  Stop testing Jesus.  Watch and learn as He teaches us through our everyday lives.  There is great danger in tempting and testing the Lord.  The Scripture says that if you continue to do this, Jesus will get in His boat and sail away, never to be found again.  I am stressing this point today because no one else does.  The "Health and Wealth" gospel would have us believe that because Jesus loves us, He would never do anything that appears as discipline or tragic course-correction in our lives.  Beware, this is not true.  I don't want Jesus sailing out of my life.  For that reason, I will spend my time praising Him for "the great things He has done" and never ask for a sign.  Why?  If for no other reason, because Jesus is not going to give me one that I don't already have!