Seeking Signs? | Mark 8:10–13
And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.
11 The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. 12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13 And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side.
What a contrast between His people and the demonstrable faith of the Gentiles!
Jesus embarks to Jewish territory on the western shore of Galilee. After spending time with Gentiles, it should’ve been a homecoming. Unfortunately, the Pharisees meet Him with ill-intent. These hypocrites already know about Him, but they tempt Him by asking Him for more. What is wrong with their request?
First, they seek more signs then God has chosen to give them. Perhaps they’re asking for a sign like Elijah produced on Mt. Carmel (1 Kgs 18:19–40), or for manna like Moses had provided (Jn 6:30–31). However, they’ve witnessed many miracles and a sign from heaven at Christ’s baptism (Mk 1:10). It’s clear at this point that no sign will be good enough for them. They’ve already declared that He is empowered by the devil (3:22), so they would have explained away the sign had He performed it.
They didn’t care to learn about Him. If they had, though, they would see the glimmer of grace in Matthew 16:4—the sign of Jonah includes death, burial, and resurrection. Those who seek a sign need only to look to His power of death itself!
Second, they seek a sign rather than interpreting the Scripture. They’ve not only seen the signs, but they know what Scripture has to say about the Messiah. In the parallel passage, Jesus says, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times” (Mt 16:2–3). They refused to know their visitation (Lk 19:44), so they’ll face judgment.
Wondering if God is real and the Bible is true, you may be also seeking signs. God’s created the universe to reflect His glory, with His fingerprints in its beauty and intricacy. He communicated the Bible that you’ve been reading. Don’t waver between opinions, asking for more; bow to what you know is true.