1 Timothy 3
“Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but
the righteous shall live by his faith.” —Habakkuk 2:4, ESV
In Matthew 12, Jesus healed a man with a shrivelled hand on the Sabbath, but instead of delighting at this miracle, the Pharisees went and plotted how to kill Him. Later, Jesus healed a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and rather than being amazed by this miracle, the Pharisees called Jesus the prince of demons. Yet, what happened to Jesus was not a new phenomenon. Even in our day and age, we see this through social media, where someone shares the Word of God and people disagree with their theology by demonizing that individual and cutting them off altogether.
Despite their disbelief, the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you” (Matthew 12:38). Even though Jesus healed a man with a shrivelled hand and casted out demons, it was not enough for the Pharisees; they wanted Jesus to do a sign that suited their desires and met their doctrines and expectations. But here is the problem: signs do not automatically produce faith and we see evidence of this throughout Scripture.
In the book of Exodus, Pharaoh experienced many signs from God, but he chose to ignore the signs and refused to believe what the signs were pointing to. The Israelites, when they were led into the wilderness, had a lot of signs from God and still, they openly rebelled against God and wanted to return to their bondage of slavery in Egypt. In the book of Kings, Ahab and Jezebel had a lot of
signs sent to them by the prophet Elijah, but they despised God’s Word. If signs produced faith, then these people would have been giants of faith. However, Pharaoh was not convinced until he died. The Israelites in the wilderness were not convinced until they died. Ahaz and Jezebel were also not convinced until they died. Even though they all saw fire fall from heaven, signs do not automatically produce faith. In Jesus’s ministry, there was no shortage of signs to prove who He was, but what the Pharisees were asking for was a sign that conformed to their doctrines and decisions about all things God.
The Pharisees’ request is almost like a mirror that looks back into our own lives. Do we respond to the signs that Jesus already provided for us? Or, are we looking to God to meet our demands and conform to our desires? Have we ever wondered, what if He is unwilling to give us a sign?
Our faith in Jesus is not something produced by signs, as Paul tells us, “For we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Dear Jesus, I confess of times when I struggle to believe in You, wishing You would produce a sign. Yet, Your Word reminds me that the righteous will live by faith. Thank You, Lord.