Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:38-40)
I have always been amazed at the attitudes of the Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes in Jesus’ time on earth. Despite seeing Jesus perform one miracle after another, they still demanded another sign to prove to them that He was indeed the Son of God.
The sign seeking didn’t stop there. It followed Him all the way to the cross. Bystanders yelled, “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” A dying thief said “If you are Christ, save yourself and us.”
In this passage of Scripture from Matthew 12, Jesus was short and to the point when they asked for a sign. All they needed to do was think about Jonah’s experience with the fish. He was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights; Jesus would be in the tomb three days and three nights. They just could not understand the real purpose for Jesus being on this earth. While they wanted a sign, Jesus wanted to be their Savior- and ours.
In John 4:34, Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work.” He knew His real purpose was to do more than miracles. He knew His purpose was to die for our sins and resurrect to assure our eternal life. His determination to fulfill His purpose was evident when He “set His face” to go to Jerusalem knowing what was awaiting Him.
One final sign could have been given according to Matthew 26:53-54. Hear the words of Jesus as He was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane: “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way? He could have given one more sign and been spared all the agony He suffered. He could have- but He didn’t.
Why? It is because we needed a Savior so much more than they needed one more sign.
Dave Snyder is an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God – Cleveland, Tennessee. Before entering the ministry on a full-time basis, he was a school teacher. He also coached middle school basketball for eight years.
Dave and his wife, Sara, have two children — Craig and Karen. They also have one ten year old granddaughter — Breanna.
Dave and Sara pastored in West Virginia for thirty-six years. Sara is now retired from the banking industry, and Dave is retired from pastoring. However, Dave currently serves as prison Chaplain for the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Writing essays, articles, and devotionals is a real passion for Dave. He also enjoys playing musical instruments and singing.