Wrong signs (Matt 12:38 and John 14:11)
Matt 12:38 In the parallel story in Luke, He points out that the crowds were getting bigger.
- The verse here in Matt ends with a demand from the Pharisees and teachers of the law.
- The Greek word used here means distinguishing mark (1), miracle (2), sign(s)
- They were demanding a miracle.
- The term “teacher” they use here is respectful but shows that they don’t buy into Jesus’ claims of divinity.
- They don’t want to suggest to the crowd that Jesus is something more than an itinerate teacher.
- The way their demand for a sign is structured and the word they used reflects back the to the exodus.
- The Pharisees were of course strong followers of Moses and they wanted to see the kind of signs that Moses did.
Verse 39 Just like their demand for a sign looked back toward the acts of Moses.
- This accusation of Jesus that they were a “wicked and adulterous generation,” is a nod back to the days of the exodus as well.
- So here Jesus generalizes and lumps these leaders demanding a sign in with the people and leaders of the Exodus.
- Jesus makes it clear that no sign will be given and then alludes to Jonah.
- Jesus will not do signs and wonders on demand or to bring attention to Himself.
Verse 40 In Jewish tradition of the day, the focus of the Jewish people was on the deliverance of Jonah from the whale. They ignored Jonah’s disobedience and the repentance of the people of Nineveh.
- This is Jesus’ way of bringing attention to his coming resurrection.
- Jonah preaching repentance and then being in the whale for three days is a prototype of Jesus.
- Jesus will always point to His death and resurrection as the most important thing for His followers to focus on.
Verse 41 The people of Nineveh repented at just the preaching of the word by Jonah, where this current audience demands a sign even after all that Jesus has already done
- The Pharisees believed in an afterlife. They held that people would be resurrected to reward or punishment in a future world based upon behavior in this world. The Sadducees did not.
- The suggestion that the people of Jonah’s day would be resurrected to judge them would have really annoyed the pharisee.
Verse 42 The queen of the south mentioned here is the queen of Sheba who appears in 1 Kings 10:1-29 and 2 Chron 9:1-12 and traveled a great distance to hear the wisdom of king Solomon.
- Both the men of Nineveh and the queen of Sheba were Gentiles who responded to God’s messengers.
- Whereas His current audience of Jewish leaders is failing to see Jesus for who he really is.
John 14:11 In the last section Jesus told people not to seek after signs.
- Here he tells them to believe on account of the works.
- The Greek word translated here as work means: work, task, employment.
- This word itself has no supernatural implication. More the sense of occupation.
- This should be seen simply as the work of Jesus. His ministry, perhaps even occupation.
- To understand verse 11, we must see and understand the previous context.
- Chapter 14 here begins with Jesus telling His disciples that he must go and prepare a place for them.
- The whole context here is that Jesus is trying to get His disciples ready for His death and resurrection and yet the disciples still don’t really know who Jesus is and who the Father is.
- John 14:10 Jesus only speaks what the father is saying and doing.
- Jesus says, look at me, look at what I do and what I say. THAT is the father.
- Jesus says look at the work I do, look at my occupation. THAT is the father.
- The works of Jesus reveals the character and Nature of God the Father.
- The works of Jesus were: humility and service. Accepting the outcast and accepting extravagant worship.