A WICKED AND FAITHLESS GENERATION
“A wicked and faithless generation are eager for a sign; but none shall be given to them except the sign of Jonah.” and He left them and went away.” (Matthew 16:4 WNT)
After the Lord Jesus Christ had miraculously fed four thousand hungry men, besides women and children, with seven loaves and the fish, the Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and requested from Him a sign from heaven to prove to them that He was indeed the Messiah they have been waiting for.
How did Jesus respond to their request for a supernatural sign before they would believe and receive Him as their Messiah?
He jumped at, seized or grabbed the opportunity and performed supernatural signs and wonders to prove to them that He was indeed the Messiah, the Anointed One?
Rather than granting the request of these religious men or gratifying their desire for a supernatural sign, the Lord Jesus rebuked them bluntly, saying, “A wicked and faithless generation are eager for a sign; but none shall be given to them except the sign of Jonah.” and He left them and went away.” (Matt. 16:4 WNT).
The Lord Jesus undoubtedly had and still has the power to perform great signs and wonders as He wills. The Scripture is replete with miracles, healings, signs and wonders performed by Jesus. In fact, not all the mighty works done by Jesus were recorded in the Bible.
30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. (NKJV).
21 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen. (NKJV).
Apparently, the miraculous works of Jesus recorded in the Bible amply confirm and testify to the truth that Jesus is indeed the Christ, the Son of God. They are undoubtedly sufficient evidence for anyone to believe in the Lord Jesus and through believing receive everlasting life in His name (John 20:31).
Many of the Old Testament prophets had to perform great signs and wonders before the people to authenticate their calling, ministry, or message. They had to prove or demonstrate to the unbelieving Jews that they were truly sent by God.
Moses and Aaron had to perform many signs before the children of Israel for them to believe and receive them as God’s servants sent for their deliverance.
29 Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel.
30 And Aaron spoke all the words which the LORD had spoken to Moses. Then he did the signs in the sight of the people.
31 So the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel and that He had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.
Elijah had to call down fire from heaven to consume the water-soaked sacrifice on Mount Carmel to demonstrate to the backsliding nation of Israel that he was indeed God’s servant and that he was acting on God’s instructions.
1 Kings 18:
36 And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. (NKJV).
Samuel also had to call down rain and thunder during the wheat harvest for the children of Israel to know that they had sinned against God by asking for a king.
1 Samuel 12:
16 “Now therefore, stand and see this great thing which the LORD will do before your eyes:
17 “Is today not the wheat harvest? I will call to the LORD, and He will send thunder and rain, that you may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking a king for yourselves.”
18 So Samuel called to the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel. (NKJV).
Why then would the Lord Jesus not perform any sign or wonder to authenticate or validate His person and ministry when the religious leaders requested a sign from Him so that they may believe in Him?
It is wisdom for us to find out!
First, the Lord Jesus refused to perform any new sign for His skeptics to believe and receive Him as their Messiah because they already had ample signs to believe that He was indeed the Messiah, the Son of God.
Before the birth of Jesus, God had sent many prophets or messengers to the Jews who gave many prophecies about Jesus Christ and performed ample signs and wonders before the people to authenticate their messages and ministries (Isa. 7:10-14, Heb. 2:1-4).
The last prophet God sent to the nation of Israel was John the Baptist. He unmistakably bore witness to the person and purpose of Jesus. Before the entire nation, He pointed Jesus out as “the Lamb of God” sent to carry away the sin of the whole world.
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
30 “This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’
31 “I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”
32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. (NKJV).
Besides the prophecies and miraculous signs given by the prophets of old to prove to the Jews that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, God the Father also spoke clearly from heaven to confirm that Jesus was indeed His Beloved Son.
16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.
17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (NKJV).
Nevertheless, the Jewish religious leaders would not believe and receive Jesus Christ as the Son of God and their Messiah.
The Lord Jesus bluntly refused to perform any supernatural sign to convince the Jewish religious leaders that He was indeed the Messiah because the Lord knew that no new sign or wonder will cure their unbelief, or melt the hardness of their hearts.
Second, the Lord Jesus did not grant the request of the Jewish religious leaders, who He referred to as a wicked and faithless generation, for a supernatural sign from Him before they would believe in Him because He would not have their faith to be based on any miraculous signs, but on God’s Word alone.
The Word of God is the only tried, tested, firm and sure foundation for a victorious Christian life!
6 The words of the LORD are pure words, Like silver tried in a furnace of earth, Purified seven times. You shall keep them, O LORD,
7 You shall preserve them from this generation forever. (NKJV).
Signs and wonders offer no solid foundation to build your Christian life upon, for they don’t endure forever;“but the word of the LORD endures forever.” (1 Pet. 1:25 NKJV).
Therefore, if you base your Christian life upon some spiritual experiences, miraculous signs or wonders, you will become unstable and may eventually fall into errors.
Lastly, the Lord Jesus would not encourage seeking after signs and wonders because they could be misleading, for the devil and his agents can also perform great signs and wonders.
The Scripture sternly warns that in the last days many false “christs” and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders to deceive many people.
23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it.
24 “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
25 “See, I have told you beforehand. (NKJV).
Beloved, it is unwise and unsafe to seek for some supernatural signs and wonders before you believe, receive and obey God’s Word.
Seeking for supernatural signs and wonders to validate God’s Word will make you vulnerable to deception, exploitation and manipulation of false prophets and apostles parading themselves as God’s servants today.
It is unsafe to draw a conclusion that God is present wherever and whenever you see miracles, signs and wonders. There are many false prophets and apostles in the world today who are performing signs and wonders, but not by God’s Spirit (Rev. 16:13-14).
We are now in days of subtle deceptions!
Therefore, if you seek after miracles, signs and wonders, you may end up being deceived, defiled, defrauded and dominated by false prophets and apostles transforming themselves into prophets and apostles of Christ to deceive and defraud the gullible and the undiscerning.
2 Corinthians 11:
13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.
14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. (NKJV).
So, don’t be deceived!
Stop seeking after signs and wonders!
Prayer: My Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me to discern and escape the subtle deceptions, manipulations and exploitations of false prophets and apostles parading themselves as prophets and apostles of Christ in these last days, in Jesus’ name. Amen.