The last sign

Jesus demonstrated in several ways to several people that He is indeed the much-awaited Messiah. Yes, most Jews continued to reject Him and ask for more signs. Jesus said He would demonstrate one last sign as a last chance.

Overview

Bible passage – Matt 12:22-37; Mark 3:20-35; Luke 11:14-28; Luke 12:10

The Jewish leaders ask Jesus for a sign. He:

  • eiterates their evil nature
  • xposes their depraved condition
  • eclares the last sign

THE FINAL RED LIGHT

Objectives

To:

  • Understand the hardness of the Pharisees causing them to ask Jesus for signs
  • Contrast it with the genuine queries from John the Baptist’s disciples confirming that Jesus is Messiah
  • Heed signs Jesus is giving us today

Bible Passage

Matt 12:38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” 39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet;

Bible Passage (Cont'd)

Matt 12:40 for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.41 The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.

The Last Sign

Jesus systematically demonstrated that he was the Messiah – fulfilling all Scripture about himself. All genuine doubts such as from John the Baptist would have been cleared as well.

  • His birth (Isaiah 7:14, 11:1; Jer. 23:5; Micah 5:2)
  • His life (Is 53, Ps 22), are references clearly pointing to Jesus and less dual than others
  • His miracles (Isaiah 61:1,2; 42:1-4)
  • His graciousness, gentleness and compassion (Is 42:1-4)
  • His rejection, lack of acceptance (Is 53)
  • His teachings and explanations tailored to scholars as well as those completely new to God

Yet the Pharisees ask for a sign

Jesus Reiterates their evil nature

They knew it all

They saw the evidence unfold in dozens (not one) of ways

Asking for the sign was as much a denial as aligning Jesus to Satan.

It was the ultimate hypocrisy

Even pagans like Ninevah and the queen of Shebha responded to lesser people

The Pharisees were:

  • Fake (v.38)
  • Evil (v. 39)
  • Adulterous (v.39)

What were they really saying?

Give me more –And keep giving me more

What is Jesus saying? I’ve shown you every sign in the book. I’ve given you all I could. The only thing left is – my life. And I will also give that in the most painful way possible FOR YOU. Are you then ready to give your lives for me?

The genuine

Recall John’s question in Matt 11:2 – Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

Jesus was quoting all of the Isaiah 61 passage except for “releasing the captive” (John was captive – literally, Jesus released spiritual captives)

What was John really saying?

I’ve given my life for Jesus. Is there anything more I should do? Have I been on the right track

What was Jesus saying?

You’ve done it all. All your efforts are in the right direction. You’re none other than the prophesied Elijah. You may not understand that my Kingdom will come through my death but it doesn’t matter. In God’s books You are the greatest man that ever lived.

Genuine vs Fake

John’s entire life had been sacrificed for preparing the way for Jesus

  • He was now held captive by Herod
  • He had not seen the miracles as the Pharisees did

The Pharisees entire life had been flirting with the power as “keepers of the law”

  • They were now condemning God himself
  • They saw, they knew the scriptural background

Jesus reaches out to all

Jesus’ answers are clear and articulate. He:

  • Shows the light to the genuine
  • Breathes condemnation to the fake
  • Reveals the true state:
  • John was the Elijah to come
  • Pharisees were worse than Ninevah and aligned with Satan, possibly demon possessed
  • Provides:
  • Assurance to the saved
  • Opportunity to the sinner

Exposes their depraved condition

In the passage immediately following, is Jesus alluding to the Pharisees?

Matthew 12:43 “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”

Exposes their depraved condition

Not only worse than the pagans

But possessed by unclean spirits?

Performing rites that temporarily purify only to be possessed?

Can their condition be any worse?

Before we condemn them

Let us remember:

They are the chosen race – the best of the best

We have already seen that last sign and have more light than they did

Let us reflect:

Are we really better than the Pharisees – the 21st century church of God? Or worse?

Do we accept our depraved condition (even if saved) as Christ sees it and genuinely seek to follow Him?

Jesus Declares the last sign

Matt 12:31b..and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; 40 for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

His Glorious Resurrection – the final victory over Satan.

He continues to reach out to them, the lost.

He longs to forgive and restore even His murderers

Jesus Declares the last sign

Satan’s final blow, Could only overthrow

Every evil power, Forever and ever

Are we heeding God’s signs?

Are we aware of our true state?

While God’s humble servants like John don’t realize how great they are

There are other anointed ones who don’t realize how evil they are

What are we really saying?

After knowing the last sign,

Are we still asking God for more?

Are we questioning our struggles, sicknesses, death

or

Are we still seeking how we can give God more?

What is Jesus saying?

You are frozen in complacency. Wake up.

Or

Well done my good and faithful servant.

recap

To the Pharisees (with a “give me more” attitude), Jesus gives one last opportunity:

  • R eiterates their evil nature
  • E xposes their depraved condition
  • D eclares the last sign

To the self sacrificial John, Jesus assures him that he’s done more than he ever imagined.

Discussion

1.Read Matt 11,12, contrasting John the Baptist and the Pharisees who both questioned whether Christ was the Messiah. How can the John the Baptists of the world tackle the Pharisees of the world?

2.What encouragement can we gain?

3.What warnings should we heed?

4.How can we transform our “give me more” attitude to God to a “what more can I do for you” attitude?

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