No Sign Will Be Given
Pastor John Sloan
Introduction: Some eight hundred years before Jesus was born, the wicked, cruel, and altogether perverse people of Nineveh heard the preaching of the prophet Jonah, “turned from their evil ways” and “cried out mightily to God” (Jonah 3:8-10). Conversely, after watching Jesus cast out demons, heal the sick, and supernaturally restore sight to the blind, the religious leaders of Israel say, in essence, “We need to see more from you.” For this reason, Jesus says, the men of Nineveh will rise up from the dead and condemn such an unbelieving generation.
Questions for Discussion & Discovery
1. When confronted angrily, Jesus responds calmly (verses 25ff.); when flattered or beguiled, Jesus answers harshly and sharply (verse 39a). Why do think this is? Are there ways in your life that you try to manipulate Jesus in order to get what you want?
2. What is the “sign of the prophet Jonah” (verse 39b)?
3. Why is seeking a sign condemned so strongly by Jesus? What should we be satisfied with instead?
4. The Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky contends that a skeptic will always find the ability to disbelieve in the miraculous, even when confronted with a miracle as an irrefutable fact. Do you agree? Why or why not?
5. About whom is Jesus speaking in verses 43-45? Does this describe you?
6. As Christians, what are we actually called to believe? How does being reminded of what we believe help us when we encounter tragedy or unexpected trials?
1. Read Matthew 12:38-42.
2. “Jesus was neither moved to anger by evil speaking, nor was he to be gained by flattery.” John Chrysostom
3. “The sign that will lead Jesus’ adversaries to believe will not be a sign Jesus performs. The sign will be Jesus, alive and visible three days after his death. His life will indicate that he is the Lord and Savior, who gives eternal life.” – Daniel Doriani
4. “The genuine realist, if he is an unbeliever, will always find strength and ability to disbelieve in the miraculous, and if he is confronted with a miracle as an irrefutable fact he would rather disbelieve his own senses than believe the fact.” – Fyodor Dostoevsky
5. Read Matthew 12:43-45.