Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. - Psalm 119:105

Bible Study Notes

Matthew 12: 38-50

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
The Audacity in Asking for a Sign!

The
Audacity in Asking for a Sign!

General Idea: In spite of all Jesus did to prove who He was, using miraculous, unfathomable healings, and words of incredible wisdom that baffled the most learned of men, they still asked for a sign. While Jesus continued to receive criticism from the pious, fraud Pharisees and Scribes who just did not get it, they still had the audacity to ask Him to prove it. They attacked Him, tried to falsely implicate Him of a crime, tried to trick Him and accused Him of being a demon, yet, they still had the impertinence to ask The God of Eternity and their only Hope for Salvation to prove it. Thus, Jesus turned the tables on their unrighteous deeds and placed a mirror in their face for them to see their own hypocrisy!  

We are to have a life filled with purpose and distinction. If we have an empty life, we are no good to ourselves, to grow, to our neighbors, or to God. We can try to clean ourselves up and apply a purpose to our lives by our own Will, but if it is not from God, it is useless. It will just invite chaos and strife into our lives. When we have no purpose in life, we are hollow and empty. Our welcome mat says, Hey, Satan, come on in; the place is all ready for you! Let us be His family by our obedience, trust, and faith in His work, and seek His Will for our lives!  

1.   Sign. It was sheer audacity for them to ask for a sign in light of what they had already witnessed. Jesus is not a magician, nor does He do miracles on demand!

a.   Sign of Jonah referred to our Lord's resurrection to come (Acts 2:22-36). Jonah was at the door of death, and God kept him alive with a miracle.

b.   When Nineveh, as a nation, repented, it was a wakeup call to Israel. However, they ignored it and decided to sleep in.

                                                  i.   The Jewish leaders feared Nineveh's repentance, as it might condemn unrepentant Israel.

                                                ii.    The result was that Nineveh became strong in the Lord as well as in power, and invaded the Northern Jewish Kingdom which fell apostate (Nahum 2:8; 3:1-7).

                                              iii.     Perhaps they should have used their energies to educate and preach God to the people rather than engaging in hate mongering toward Jonah.

c.   Some Jewish leaders say God saved Nineveh, one of the wickedest of the ancient cultures, in order to show the Israelites what could be done, or to show them up. 

d.   Some scholars say Jesus was talking to pagans, who converted to Judaism, in front of the religious leaders to tick them off and show them their hypocrisy.

e.   Even in the day of the Law, God saved pagans who turned to Him (Jonah 1:15-16; 4:10-11).

f.     Three days and three nights. Days, in Hebrew terms, do not refer to complete 24 hour periods, but can be just a part of a day such as Friday, 10:00 p.m. to Sunday, 10:00 a.m. would be three days, as would Friday, 1:00 a.m. through Sunday, 11:00 p.m. (Jonah 2:1).

                                                  i.   To say three days and three nights indicates three full day periods.

                                                ii.    In ancient Jewish culture, a person had to be dead at least three days before they were declared dead.

g.   Queen of the South refers to Sheba, the Queen of southwest Arabia, now called Yemen, who came to seek Solomon's wisdom. Some scholars say Ethiopia's territory extended far beyond that of today (1 Kings 10:1f; Acts 8:27).  

2.   Casting out demons does no good unless the person repents, and seeks God's Will and not their own (Heb. 6:4-6). Jesus' point was that they were so wicked they kept inviting the demons back in!

a.   The Holy Spirit is the only One who occupies the entire room of the soul so there is no room for demon possession (Rom. 8:9). We may be bothered and harassed by demons, but as a child of Christ, who's Spirit dwells within us, there is no room for it!

b.   Dry places refers to the desert where it was believed demons hung out. Remember, Jesus used images and words that the common people understood and could relate to.

c.   Return to my house. If you are without Christ, Satan owns your soul!

d.   Sevenfold was a saying indicating severity and intensity (Gen. 4:15; 24; Lev. 26:18).

e.   Spiritual warfare is alive, real, and certain (2 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 6:10-18)! If you ignore it, the "dark one" will come. We must stand ready with a defense, lest he take up residence in us! Jesus won the victory over Satan; when we are in Him, we have no need to fear. Satan needs your cooperation for him to come in you, and being a person who rejects Christ is his open invitation.  

3.   Family. Jesus had a real, earthly family.

a.   Family was such a focus and central aspect of Jewish life, thus, respect for family and loyalty was essential.

b.   To respect your family, especially the father, was expected. Not to do so was considered very repulsive. (Ex. 20:12; Duet. 5:16; Matt. 15:4; 19:19; Eph. 6:2).

c.   To call another person a part of your family was like adopting them in to your family, a very intimate and personal call that Jesus gives us.

                                                  i.   When we say we are a Christian, but do not honor or obey Him even though it may not be required, what good are we?

                                                ii.    To disavow a family member would mean that a horrendous event of unspeakable means had occurred. Perhaps we are being reprehensible before our Lord in our disobedience!

d.   Most Christians, especially Catholics, forget that Jesus had an earthly family too (Matt. 13:55).

e.   Mary is certainty the most blessed of women, but, obeying the Word of God is even more of a blessing!  

There is no neutrality in the Kingdom of God. If you try to waffle, you will be asking for Satan's influence upon you!  All too often, we Christians forget about the Reverence, Holiness and Judgment of God. We may quote Proverbs 3:5, and say we follow His wisdom and fear Him, but, it does not seem to affect us as it should. To fear God means to fear Him in bowed down, surrendered obedience, devotion, reverence, and awe, that should overwhelm and encompass us, so we are totally focused upon our Lord and not upon ourselves (1 Peter 4:17). If you are not sure, consider Jesus' teachings. A lot of them are in the context of Judgment. Yes, love and grace are still there, but never forget how He has saved you from Judgment! Push your reset button, so you are tuned off, and He is turned on as your whole being becomes poured out to Him!  
 

Questions:  

1.   What needs to take place for something to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt for you? Such as, if you were a juror, what would sway you more, the evidence, the witness, and your feelings, or …?  
 
 
2.   Why do you suppose the religious leaders kept hounding Jesus for a sign? Why do you think the signs He gave were not good enough for them? 
 
 
3.   How did Jesus turn the tables on the unrighteous deeds of the religious leaders?  
 
 
4.   What does it mean to you to have a life filled with purpose and distinction? What happens when you do not?  
 
 
5.   How would you define the sign 
 
 
6.   If you were living in apostate Israel and a kingdom more wicked than yours repented--as Nineveh did--how would you be affected? Would your heart become harder as the Israelites did or…?  
 
 
7.   Read the book of Jonah, it is short. Why would the Jewish leaders have feared Nineveh's repentance? 
 
 
8.   How important must the visit of the Queen of the South have been, so that hundreds of years later, Jesus used it as an illustration for His point?  
 
 
9.   Why would the casting out of demons not help some people? What needs to happen? 
 
 
10. How has Spiritual Warfare affected your life? How have you been involved, and what do you need to do about it? 
 
 
11. A lot of Christians think all they need to do is ignore Spiritual Warfare. What will happen when we engage in this mindset?  
 
 
12. What does Satan usually need before he can attack you?  
 
 
13. Why would some Christians go to great lengths to say Jesus had no siblings, even though Scripture is clear on this? 
 
 
14. The respect of one's family was especially central to Jewish society. How it is with you and your culture? 
 
 
15. When we say we are a Christian, but do not honor or obey Christ, even though it may not be required, what good are we? Why do some Christians do this? 
 
 
16. What does it mean to be reprehensible before our Lord?  
 
 
17. Mary is certainty the most blessed of women. What does she mean to you, and what honor should a Christian give her? 
 
 
18. Why can there be no neutrality in the Kingdom of God? 
 
 
19. How can you have a life filled with purpose and distinction? What would be a better purpose for you? How can you come across to others with more distinction? 
 
 

20. What do you need to do to have a more reverent and fearful attitude toward God? 

 

© 2003 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com  

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