Year 2 Day 347
Read - Mark 8:10-13
Message - Alan Burke
You might be wondering why we’ve spent so much time on Monday and Wednesday looking at the words ‘question/argue’, ‘test/tempt’ and the meaning behind them, but it is so that we are in no doubt that the Pharisees were coming and that this is a thoroughly confrontational scene. They are coming to Jesus, demanding him to prove who He is. They were demanding a sign even though they no doubt heard and seen what Jesus had been doing, heard what Jesus was doing. But it didn’t matter because they were convinced that these things were all by the power of Satan. So here as they came to Jesus what they wanted wasn’t another miracle, what they wanted was a sign they wanted the heavens to open, they wanted to hear God’s voice say “This is Him, your Messiah”. Just like Satan in the wilderness, these Pharisees were tempting Jesus to do something stupendous, to prove beyond all doubt who he was.
Then we are told of the response of Jesus to their coming, to their questioning, and we are simply told that he 'sighed deeply’ (NIV), or rather the greek tells us that he ‘sighed deeply in His spirit’ as the KJV and the ESV also include. Jesus to their demands sighed deeply in His spirit. The pParisees came on the war path, so riled up, demanding a sign and Jesus responds not like them, not with anger or indignation, rather it is that of dismay, despair. The Pharisees with their constant confrontation, their lack of belief, their utter blindness to who Jesus was, how they had attributed his power to that of Satan and now they are wanting another sign, like a big neon sign in the sky kind of sign, pointing to Jesus ‘saying this is him’ is just too much, Jesus had reached the end of his patients with them.
The Pharisees were just like that rebellious generation in the days of the Exodus, who had seen God’s works among them, who had seen and heard God as He worked bringing them salvation yet their hearts were hardened. In the wildness they had barely stepped across the Red Sea and they longed once more for Egypt, they put God to the test, even though they had seen the proof, they had seen God at work. Likewise, these Pharisees they had seen and heard of what Jesus was doing among them yet their hearts were hardened, they were putting God once more to the test even though they had seen the proof, they had seen God work among them though His Son Jesus Christ.
So to their demand Jesus responds… “Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it.” The reason why is that what ever sign they would be given they would not see or understand, no number of proofs our signs would enable them, The Pharisees is really ‘A Sign Of Their Disbelief’. Finally we are told the end of this confrontation is of Jesus leaving them, as he got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.
I want to leave you with this, some will say that they would believe in God if they only had a sign, if only it was clear to them. Well all of creation each and every part of it creation reveals that there is a God, the entire natural world bears witness to God through its beauty, complexity, design, and usefulness. That what is meant when God uses the apostle Paul to say in Romans 1:19-20 ‘For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. All are without excuse.’ Every single part of creation testifies to how there is a God, so that no one should complain that God has left insufficient evidence of His existence and character. Through general revelation to all men, God communicates His existence, His power, and His glory, so that we are left without excuse. All of creation though, is, “not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation” (Westminster Confession of Faith, I.1). General revelation does not reveal Jesus Christ or His work of redemption for sinners.
Q100 What doth the preface of the Lord’ s prayer teach us?
The preface of the Lord’ s prayer, (which is, Our Father which art in heaven, (Matt. 6:9)) teacheth us to draw near to God with all holy reverence and confidence, as children to a father, able and ready to help us; (Rom. 8:15, Luke 11:13) and that we should pray with and for others. (Acts 12:5, 1 Tim. 2:1–2)