"Why Does This Generation Seek After A Sign?"

(preface- i wrote this a few years back so I think I was using a version of New King James).

Matthew 12:15-21 “Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there.  And many followed him, and he healed them all and ordered them not to make him known.  This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:  “Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, with whom my soul is well pleased.  I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.  He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; a bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”

  The Lord Jesus is infinite in worth, and beyond all that I can comprehend.  He is “the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints” (Colossians 1:26).” He is eternal.  I have often learned much of what other men and women say about who he is.  It is good, yet it must not replace personal digging deeply into His word and pursuing Him in prayer to find Him and to know him as I must.  Oh, that we might tarry, and hope to touch upon the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8)!   

 For if I had before my eyes

Ten thousand sunsets

And starry skies

And earth’s full measure of precious stone

I would still gaze on Christ alone!         

Many come in their own name, and we receive them.  But Jesus came in his Father’s name, and we received him not.  (John 5:43).  There are many today who go about preaching more of themselves then they are of God’s son, and more about their own personal experiences then from the Word of God.  I would still rejoice, like Paul if I could say that though some “preach Christ from envy and rivalry…not sincerely (Philippians 1:15-17)” but that “whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed (verse 18).”  Unfortunately, often Christ isn’t even preached, in fact he is hardly touched upon or worse yet misrepresented.  My Lord never once promised an easier road, worldly wealth, or worldly comfort as we reckon comfort should be.  But he did speak of a narrow road that he would guide us on, one that few would walk upon.  He did say “lose your life to find it,” and to the rich man “go and sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”(Matt 19:21)  Jesus never promised to restore back to him ten fold what he had given, nor open the floodgates of heaven as if men could give anything to gain favour from God.  With regards to comfort, I wonder how Peter felt when Jesus said to him “When you shall be old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall gird you, and carry you where you would not… signifying by what death he should glorify God (John 21:18-19).”  And so Peter did follow hard after Jesus, and as church history tells us, he was crucified upside down.  Would you or I pick up our cross and follow Christ if we knew the road would lead to such a death?  I am sorrowful, because I too have rather desired to have my ears tickled and lean upon the fatal promises of men rather than the commands of God.  I have preferred darkness to light, and to sit in ease rather than daily crucify my flesh and myself to the world. (Gal 6:14)  Jesus said “You refuse to come to me that you may have life.  I do not receive glory from people.” (John 5:40-41

He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.”  Jesus was not flashy, in fact upon this earth Isaiah 53:2 says “he has no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”  He was oftentimes discreet about the miracles he performed, charging men and women to tell no one what he had done.  Just look at the way Jesus acts in this scripture:

 John 6:14-15 “Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, ‘This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.’  When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.”

 I have never seen Jesus in scripture running about saying: “I do miracles!  I do miracles!”  Though I have heard many a believer shout emphatically “Jesus does miracles, Jesus does miracles.”  Wait.  I am not saying that he does not do many miracles, and I am not saying that we should not rejoice and take great hope in his miraculous healing power.  But we must apply our hearts and minds to scripture and be careful not to make promises Jesus never made, nor to put too much emphasis on certain attributes of His in a way that He would not do Himself.

 Matthew 12:38-39 “Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from you.  But he answered and said to them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall be no sign give to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah.” (I believe Jesus was speaking of his death, burial, and resurrection here).

 John 2:18 “Then answered the Jews and said to him, ‘What sign do you show to us, seeing that you do these things?’”  The Jews had a history of God proving himself faithful to them by great signs and wonders, so this question is to be expected.  1 Corinthians 1:22-23 “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness.”  It seems to be a trend, that when men are hungry for a miracle they need be told of the only miracle that can save, which is Christ crucified.  Here also is Jesus response to the Jews: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up (John 2:19)”  Of course, He was speaking again of his death and resurrection.  Then in verse 24, speaking of those who “believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did” it says “Jesus did not commit himself to them, because he knew all men.”  Yet we are so quick to usher men into heartless prayers of “repentance” which are of no repentance indeed because they know not how they have sinned, nor has there been wrought Godly sorrow.  This is why it is so important to know the Word, and to know and love Jesus Christ!  If we know him, we will not try to sell him and use propaganda to make him popular among a perverse generation!  We will be cautious, and discerning so as to spare our Lord from the trampling feet of wicked men.  Christ is not concerned for his popularity; He is accepted and beloved of His father and sits at the right hand of God.  He is however, desiring that none would perish and is satisfied to justify many for he has borne our iniquity.  He certainly loves with an everlasting love but if the cross is not esteemed He will pull no other drawing card to dazzle men.  I fear that this happens, but I pray that you and I would add nothing to the cross, nor take anything away from it.  Humanism is not a new thing, but a very old thing.  We need only look to Jesus’ own brothers to see how futile the thoughts of men are. 

 John 7:3-5 “Therefore His brothers said to him, “Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing.  For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly.  If you do these things, show Yourself to the world.”  For not even His brothers were believing in Him.”

 It was their lack of faith that caused them to ask Jesus to perform miracles before the public.  

 And in another place:

 Mark 8:11-12 “And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him.  And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, ‘Why does this generation seek after a sign?  verily I say to you, There shall no sign be given to this generation.’” 

 Lord, I want to love you for who you are.  The cross is all I have and all I will ever have, all I need and all I want.  Help us to be fully satisfied in the work you have accomplished, even if everything else is taken away.  It’s all nothing compared to you anyways.  Help us lay down our lives for your sake and for the gospel’s sake.  Amen.

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