A Sign From God
Robert Wurtz II
“A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed.” (Matthew 16:4)
Driving down Highway 291 I was met with this sign,”You asked for a sign from God, this is it.” As I passed on heading home I could not get that thought out of my mind. Could it really be that simple? Someone asks God for a sign and then they happen upon this message board. After given it much thought I suggest that actually it is more simple than that. Jesus said that, a wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign. Amazingly this statement is not a commendation. Jesus does not praise these men and women for seeking signs from God, He tells them the type of category they fall into (wicked and adulterous). Our Greek word for wicked is poneros and means hurtful. This is a person or a spirit that causes suffering by their actions. They are part of the problem, not the solution. They are laden with destructiveness. Our second word is adulterous and it is the Greek moichalis. This is a covenant breaker. This is a person that when faced with keeping their commitments or pleasing themselves they choose to please themselves. Together these two facts characterize the people that seek a sign. Notice that Jesus had already given many different signs and none of them were good enough. The evil and adulterous pretend that the Lord has not given them a sufficient sign in order that they can continue on living in sin. They are willfully skeptical.
A greater sign?
As a young Christian I was quite naive. I believed that if God would reveal Himself sufficiently to a person then they would surely believe. In other words, I believed that the reason why most people did not believe is because they never witnessed a miracle or experienced God in some kind of irrefutable way. This belief was dashed to pieces when I saw people healed of things like terminal cancer, they survived deadly accidents, etc., and still they did not turn to God. It was so devastating to me to see this, that I was disillusioned with my own theology. But I learned an important lesson. God deals with people and they know He is dealing with them. But in order to stall, they seek a ‘greater sign’. Many have gone to their graves procrastinating and stalling.
Resurrection not enough
You will recall how the rich man lifted up his eyes in Hell seeking for water and a warning to be sent to his family. He received neither. But a close look at Abraham’s explanation reveals an essential truth to us. We take up the story, Abraham said unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, No, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they will not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. (Luke 16:29-31) This seems almost impossible doesn’t it? If someone comes back from the dead they still won’t believe? That’s right. We have an example of this when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. We take up that story also, Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus. (John 12:9-11) This passage has to rank as one of the most potent revelations of the sick nature of sinful man. Here is a person dead so long that he stank, but was raised from the dead and now these chief priests, that don’t even believe in resurrection, are seeking to put him to death again. Rather than stop their obstinate refusal to believe and obey God, they seek to destroy the evidence. There is no possible way these people did not know God was back of that unprecedented miracle. They have what the book of Hebrews calls, “an evil heart of unbelief.” (Hebrews 3:12)
The danger of denial
About 20 years ago I was visited by an investigator about a certain crime that had been committed. Because I knew the parties involved at an earlier period of my life I was asked to give a deposition. In the course of my association with this case I saw clearly that the handwriting was on the wall. the evidence was almost overwhelming. At one point I asked the investigator why the party did not just confess. I never for got his answer, “Robert, it is an age old problem known as denial.”
Multitudes are living in denial of God’s dealings with them. But what we must know is that God is not going to frog-march us to an altar of repentance and faith. Denial is a defense mechanism, but when God is the opposing party is it an awfully flimsy one! God knows the hearts of men so there is no sense in pretending we don’t understand or don’t believe. The rich man tried to get more ‘proof’ to his family, but Abraham told him plainly that they had Moses and the prophets and that that was sufficient for repentance and faith. To think that someone will repent if God shows them another ‘sign’ is to fool yourself. Think of all the times in life when you knew God was at work or He moved your heart. What about friends and family? Some of the greatest signs I ever saw from God were trod under foot by the rebellious. We have all the revelation we need right here and right now. As Jesus said it, “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed.” (Matthew 16:4) God has raised Christ from the dead after 3 days in the heart of the earth. There can be no greater sign given than that. If that sign is not enough, then a message board on Highway 291 reading,”You asked for a sign from God, this is it” is as good as any.