The Pharisees and the Scribes wanted Jesus to give them signs but interestingly enough, they had been given signs all along but had failed to see them or acknowledge them. These signs were manifested in the healing of the sick, the cleansing of the lepers, the lame walking, the blind seeing, the mute talking and the deaf hearing. Yet people still asked for signs. Their unbelief blinded them to what was right there before their eyes. Unlike the Queen of Sheba who went out of her way to see King Solomon because she had heard of his wisdom and wanted to see or hear for herself, the Jews did not go out of their way to see for themselves the glory of the Lord, His wonderful miracles nor hear what He had to say. Unlike the pagan sailors who were with Jonah who once they saw the sovereignty of God, worshipped Him and became believers, those who professed to know Him did not even recognize that He was with them.
Immanuel was in their midst displaying His sovereignty in a different way but they failed to see Him or acknowledge Him. Unlike the Ninevites who repented when they heard Jonah’s warning, God’s chosen people hardened their hearts and did not listen to One far greater than Jonah. The Messiah they had long awaited was there talking to them, warning them but they paid no heed because He did not measure up to their expectations. They could not reconcile the Messiah, the Son of God, and the King of Kings to the man clothed in humility before them. To them, He looked no different from the people they fancied themselves to be superior to. Their spiritual blindness prevented them from seeing that there was a difference in His demeanour—the way He treated others, His vast knowledge of scriptures and the law and of God. Then there were the miracles He performed, His growing popularity and His many followers. The Light had come into the world but the darkness did not understand it.
Even when they received the sign of Jonah they refused to accept it and instead bribed the guards, encouraging them to say that His body had been taken from the tomb by His disciples. Before that they had posted guards in order to prevent Jesus from fulfilling His word. Matthew 27:62-64 gives an account of the religious leaders going to Pilate in order to secure guards at the tomb. Their reason for this was, “Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night, and steal Him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.” They recalled Jesus’ words that He will rise after three days but they referred to Him as “that deceiver”. They had asked Him for a sign and yet they were doing their best to prevent it.
Jesus rightly says of them, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted and I should heal them” (Matthew 13:15).
One of the questions in a study lesson was what sign would I like to see and I thought about it. I thought I would like the Lord to talk to me in a dream as He spoke to Mary’s husband, Joseph in a dream. Or for Him to tell me something that I share with others and then it comes to pass. But, then, I got my sign that morning and it was not what I expected but was just as profound. God reminded me of something I needed to have with me so I had to walk with an extra bag to carry it in. God once again made it clear to me that every detail in my life, no matter how small it is just as important to Him. The sign here was His loving care, attention and presence. Another sign is Him talking to me. What greater sign do we need than that God Almighty talks to us. He communicates with us.
There are signs everyday like solutions to problems; a kind word; an encouraging smile; food on the table; money in our bank accounts; waking up every morning and being able to get out of bed. His word is full of signs. God speaks to us when we read His word. A sign is His Holy Spirit, who dwells in us; who recalls scripture to us; who helps us to understand God’s message each time we open the Bible. People recovering from illnesses, coming out of financial difficulties are all signs. The weekly Sabbath is a sign. It proclaims God’s sovereignty and celebrates creation. Nature is an unmistakable sign. We ourselves are signs of God’s goodness and mercy. Jesus came so that we may have life in abundance. The changing of the seasons each year; the rising and setting of the sun; the babies being born everyday all speak of the Creator of all life. The signs are there but do we take the time to see them?