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Mat 16:1           Where was Jesus when the Pharisees and Sadducees came up to test Him?  See Mat 15:39.  What is significant about the fact that the Pharisees and Sadducees came together in order to test Him?  Cf. Act 23:6-10 and think: were the Pharisees and Sadducees political allies or rivals?  Considering their bitter opposition to each other, what does the fact that they came together against Jesus indicate about the common threat they perceived Him to be?  What threat did He pose to them?  Think: Why was Jesus so popular with the multitudes, and what threat did that popularity pose to those who were in power?  Cf. Mat 7:28-29, 15:7-9.  If Jesus was to appear today, do you think the two major political parties in our own country would likewise oppose Him and even come together against Him, or do you think one party would embrace Him over the other?  What scriptures lead us to believe that when Christ returns He will likewise be opposed by many, even most, of the religious leaders as well?  See Mat 7:13-15, Luk 13:23-24, 18:8, 21:34-36, 2Th 2:3, 2Ti 3:1-5, 4:3-4.

Mat 16:1-3      Is it necessarily wrong to seek after a sign from God?  Cf. Jdg 6:17,36-40, 7:10-11.  In asking for a sign from heaven, was the purpose of the Pharisees and Sadducees one of sincere inquiry?  For what purpose does Matthew say in Mat 16:1 that they asked Him for a sign?  Were they then seeking a sign in order that they might believe, or to justify their unbelief because they did not expect Him to grant them their desire?  How is that like so many people today?  Is it like us?  Why is it wrong to seek after a miraculous sign under such pretenses?  See Mat 4:7, Heb 11:6.  What words in Mar 8:12 indicate the grievous nature of testing the Lord in such a manner?  How was Jesus’ deep sigh in this verse different from that in Mar 7:34?  In what manner does the Lord sigh deeply over us: for our pitiful state as we come humbly to be touched even by that which is “unclean” from His mouth for deliverance from our bondage, or for our hardness of heart and unbelief because He will not answer us on our own terms?  Cf. Joh 9:39-41.  Was this the first time that some religious leaders had asked Jesus for a sign?  See Mat 12:38.  What was different about this request?  What sort of sign “from heaven” might they have had in mind?  Cf. Jos 10:12-13, 2Ki 20:8-11, Mat 2:2,7-10.  What is the significance that the Greek word for “sky” in Mat 16:2 and 3 is the same as that for “heaven” in Mat 16:1?  Read Psa 19:1-6.  Were the religious leaders able to discern from the heavens spiritual truth as it related to the Messiah, or only worldly things such as the weather?  Why?  Cf. Joh 7:24.  In this light, would they have understood a sign from heaven proving Jesus to be who He claimed to be?  Cf. Joh 12:28-30, Jer 6:10.  What were the even more glaring “signs of the times” that they could not see?  Cf. Mat 11:4-6.  Would they have believed a sign from the heavens that pointed them to the truth when they could not discern the “signs of the times”?  Is it possible that there are signs in our own times to which we are equally blind?  What signs did Jesus tell His disciples would be manifested in the heavens concerning Him?  See Mat 24:29-30, Luk 21:11,25-26; cf. Isa 13:10, 24:23, Eze 32:7-8, Joe 2:10,31, 3:15-16, Amo 8:9, Act 2:17-21.  Do we have eyes to see such signs “from heaven”, or are we like the Pharisees and Sadducees who judge only by appearance and not with righteous judgment?

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