Check Out the Weather Forecast
Matt. 16:1 ¶ The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test Jesus they asked him to show them a sign from heaven.
Matt. 16:2 He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’
Matt. 16:3 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.
Matt. 16:4 An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” Then he left them and went away.
Meteorology has been around for a long time. Maybe not as the profession that it is today but there have always been those who have been the predictors of weather. Even in Jesus’ time they had ways of “reading the sky” and determining what type of weather lie ahead. Evidently they were pretty good at it.
Jesus acknowledged their weatherman skills and the fact that people knew how to make observations and then interpret them into a forecast.
At the same time Jesus was irritated with their inability to take their observations regarding him and also make an interpretation. The Pharisees and Sadducees came and asked Jesus for a “sign from heaven.” His frustration with them was that they had been able to observe sign after sign on a daily basis and yet, they had been unable to interpret those signs. How in the world could they be skilled at reading the signs regarding the weather and yet were blind to what they had been observing on a daily basis? Jesus did not hide the fact that he was doing miracles. The blind were able to see, the lame to walk, the sick were raised up from their beds and it was all happening in front of their eyes.
Jesus was frustrated.
He told them that the only sign they would receive was the “sign of Jonah.” Jonah, the man who had been swallowed up by the big fish and spent 3 days in the darkness of the belly of that fish and was finally spit out and returned to life was the sign. It was the sign of Jesus who would spend three days in the belly of darkness and be resurrected, brought back to life. This would be the final sign because somehow they were missing the whole forecast which was being played out in front of them.
He lays out the truth before them and will not argue. He simply leaves them and walks away. They refuse to take the forecast seriously.
Today the weather forecast is for extremely violent weather in the Southeast region of the United States. We are told by the forecasters that approximately 75 million people live in the pathway of a very dangerous storm that will spawn hail and tornadoes. People are on alert. They will listen to their radios and they will take cover when they are told because we are listening to the voice of the forecasters. Too many people have already died from this storm in the last two days. We will be paying attention! We know how to predict weather these days with greater and greater accuracy so when we receive a warning, we had better take notice!
Jesus has provided us with signs for over 2000 years. This is our spiritual weather forecast. It is abundantly clear that this man who performed miracle after miracle and was resurrected from the dead was no ordinary man. The voices of early witnesses have declared who he was and what he did. It is later in this same chapter that Peter declares Jesus to be the Messiah! Peter had read the signs — he had paid attention to the weather forecast and he realized who it was that stood there in front of him.
We pay attention to the meteorologists and we believe what they are telling us. They know how to read the signs, making observations and then giving us a forecast.
We have the signs. We can make observations. We have been given the forecast. Will we believe?
Lord, thank you for the signs and that we can believe. Amen.