Mark 8: 11-13: None so blind.
11 The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. 12 He sighed deeply and said, ‘Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.’ 13 Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side. ” NIV UK
There is something very human, don’t you think, in the comment that Jesus ‘’sighed deeply’’. Have you ever got to that point with certain people? I know I have. It regularly occurs with those who are just not going to change. You want to help them. They seem to want to be helped. But nothing you say or do brings about change because really they intend to stay put right where they are. I think we are meant to understand that the Pharisees knew about the feeding of the four thousand, and many other miracles of Jesus, but still they asked for ‘’a miraculous sign.’’ There is irony in that. Jesus had just performed a remarkable miracle, but I believe they were saying, ‘Yes, but, we want a bigger and better one. Give us absolute proof that you are the Son of God, the Messiah. Show us evidence that will blow away all doubt.’ Of course, no such thing could happen in their case because they had already determined not to believe. Their unbelief was entrenched. Their vehicle was stuck in the mud of unbelief and it would stay there. In fact, it was going to sink deeper and deeper. This was not a sincere request. They had already made their minds up about Jesus.
It was never Jesus’ intention to provide a sign that would rule out the necessity of faith. ‘’Faith can only exist when the object of our faith is something beyond our finite knowledge.’ Tom Hale: ‘The Applied New Testament Commentary,’p.242. We have to relate to God by faith, or not at all (Hebrews 11:6).
According to Matthew 16:4, Jesus said that no sign would be given ‘’except the sign of Jonah.’’ In the same way that Jonah spent three days in the stomach of the ‘’great fish’’ (Jonah 1:17), so Jesus would be killed and spend three days buried in the earth and then rise from the dead. But when it happened, the Jews, generally speaking, still did not believe (see Matthew 12:38-41).
For those with open, believing hearts, Jesus had shown more than enough ‘’signs’’ that He was God’s Son. But the Pharisees were not going to believe, no matter what Jesus did (John 10:24, 25).
It is a sobering thought that you can, by a rebellious, unbelieving attitude send Jesus away (13).