Demanding A Sign - Mark 8
Demanding A Sign - Mark 8
In Mark 8 we see the Pharisees demanding a 'sign from heaven' from Jesus. In our bibles, chapter 8 is halfway through the book. So far Mark has recorded four specific instances where Jesus cast out demons and general statements are made on two other occasions. He gave sight to the blind and caused the deaf to hear. He restored a withered hand and stopped a 12-year long bleeding problem. He instantly healed a fever, walked on water, and calmed the storm. From a small bit of food he fed 5,000 men on one occasion (chapter 6) and 4,000 people on another (chapter 8).
In addition to that, Mark also records a general statement about such miracles. "And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well” (Mark 6:56).
This puts the request of the Pharisees into a context. Even if they had not personally seen all of these, the signs that Jesus had done were well known throughout the whole land. Not only had he done them, he had given power to his disciples to also do them (Mark 6:7-13).
To demand yet another sign is really an indication of the hardness of their hearts. Mark does record that Jesus did signs after this episode – a blind man at Bethsaida (8:22-26), a boy with a demon (9:14-29), and blind Bartimaeus of Jericho (10:46-52). If they have not believed because of the other signs, neither would they believe these – and they didn't.
While Jesus refused to do an immediate sign at their request, he did do one more sign, His resurrection from the dead. Matthew recorded that "no sign would be given EXCEPT the sign of Jonah" (Matt. 12:39; 16:4). As Jonah was in the belly of the great fish, so the son of Man would be in the heart of the earth" (Matt. 12:40). They BOTH came forth! It is interesting to note that with the preaching of his resurrection, some Pharisees are recorded as believing (Acts 15:5). Most however were just so spiritually blind that they could not believe.
Faith requires the accepting of evidence and testimony. Such evidence and testimony can be sufficient and yet be rejected. Some have such preconceived concepts that it renders them impossible to even believe what they are seeing. This is a dire warning unto all of us. We must be honest enough with ourselves to take a look at our preconceived concepts as well as the current evidence. We may have to admit that our preconceived ideas were wrong.