“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, asking that He would show them a sign from heaven that He was indeed the Messiah. But Jesus would not gratify their desire for signs.
Jesus spoke bluntly to them, 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 always had 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.
John writes, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book.” (John 20:30 NKJV).
“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.” (John 21:25 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 enough evidence for anyone to believe in the Lord Jesus, and through believing receive everlasting life in His name (John 20:31).
Many prophets of old 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 people that they were truly sent by God.
Moses and Aaron had to perform signs before the children of Israel for them to believe and receive them as God’s servants sent for their deliverance.
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. (NKJV).
Elijah had to call down fire from heaven to consume the water-soaked sacrifice on Mount Carmel before the people 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).
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:
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.
19 And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the LORD your God, that we may not die; for we have added to all our sins the evil of asking a king for ourselves.”
20 Then Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. (NKJV).
Why then would the Lord Jesus not perform any sign or wonder to authenticate 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 or receive Him as their Messiah because they already had ample signs to believe that He was indeed the Messiah, the Son of God, yet they chose not to believe or receive Him.
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 Christ. Before the entire nation, John the Baptist 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 people that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God, God the Father also spoke clearly from the heavens to confirm that Jesus Christ 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 Jews as a nation would not believe or receive Jesus Christ as the Son of God and their Messiah. Therefore, when the faithless Jewish religious leaders asked Jesus for another sign to prove that He was indeed the Son of God, He bluntly refused. Why?
Because the Lord knew that no new sign or wonder will cure their unbelief, or melt the hardness of their hearts!
God has already given ample signs for the world to believe and receive Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Saviour of the whole world.
Second, the Lord Jesus would not grant the request of the wicked and faithless generation for signs because He would not have their faith to be based on 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.
7 You shall keep them, O LORD, 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, and not solely on God’s Word, you will be unstable and immature in faith, for “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17 NKJV).
Lastly, 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 people that are eagerly seeking after signs, miracles and wonders.
The Lord Jesus warns, “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” (Matt. 24:5 NKJV).
“Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” (Matt. 24:11 NKJV).
“For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” (Matt. 24:24 NKJV).
Likewise, Paul warns that the lawless one will perform signs and wonders.
2 Thessalonians 2:
9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,
10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie. (NKJV).
Beloved, it is unscriptural, unwise and dangerous to seek after miracles, signs and wonders, and to draw a general conclusion that God is present wherever and whenever great miracles, signs and wonders are happening.
There are many false apostles and prophets in the world today who perform great miracles, signs and wonders, but not by God’s Spirit (Rev. 16:13-14). There are also many churches today where great miracles, signs and wonders are happening daily, but not by the power of God.
The end-time are 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 apostles and prophets transforming themselves into apostles and prophets of Christ (2 Cor. 11:14-15).
Apostle John exhorts you to test or discern the spirits.
1 John 4:
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,
3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. (NKJV).
Don’t be deceived!
Prayer: My Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me to discern false apostles, pastors and prophets in this end-time and thus escape their subtle deceptions and manipulations, in Jesus’ name. Amen.