October 4, 2013

Scripture and Commentary, Saturday after the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity

Morning – Psalm 71, 1 Kings 21:1-10, James 4:1-12
Evening – Psalm 93,98, Job 25 & 26, Mt. 16:1-12

Commentary, Matthew 16:1-12

The Pharisees can discern the signs of the weather, but not the signs of the Messiah.  His signs are plentiful.  Healings, miracles, the testimony of John the Baptist, and Scripture all point to Christ.  But the Pharisees do not accept them, so they ask for a different sign.  Christ says they will only have the sign of Jonas (Jonah).  Simply stated, the sign of Jonas is the resurrection of Christ.  Jonah was in the fish for three days.  On the third he was freed.  Christ was in the grave three days. On the third He rose again. The resurrection is the sign Jesus will give the Pharisees, and they will even reject it.

It is the same today.  People reject the signs given and ask for a new sign.  Some want miracles.  Some want an audible and visible appearance.  Some want religious feelings and experiences.  “Give me these,” they say, “and I will believe in Jesus.”  But Jesus says the sign, Christ’s resurrection, has already been given to us.  So we do not need new and more signs; we need faith to believe the signs we have, especially the resurrection of Christ.

Thus Jesus warns the disciples to beware of the doctrine of the Pharisees.  Theirs is the doctrine of unbelief. Theirs is the doctrine of self-righteousness rather than forgiveness of sins.  Theirs is the doctrine of works rather than grace.  Their entire understanding of the Bible was wrong.  They had twisted it to make it appear to say things God never intended.  Like the disciples, the Church today needs to beware, for the leaven of the Pharisees is with us still.