Matthew 16:4 - Is It Wrong To Ask For A Miracle Or Sign?

Matthew 16:4; Is It Wrong To Ask For A Miracle Or Sign?

Mat 16:4 (NLT)  Only an evil, faithless generation would ask for 
a miraculous sign, but the only sign I will give them is the sign 
of the prophet Jonah. Then Jesus left them and went away. 

Mat 16:4 (NCV)  Evil and sinful people ask for a miracle as a 
sign, but they will not be given any sign, except the sign of Jonah. 
Then Jesus left them and went away. 

Mat 16:4 (TEV)  How evil and godless are the people of this day! 
You ask me for a miracle? No! The only miracle you will be given is 
the miracle of Jonah. So he left them and went away. 


Pharisees Test Jesus
The Leaders Ask for a Miracle
The Demand for a Sign


Genesis 6:3 (KJV)  And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always 
strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an 
hundred and twenty years.  

Matthew 12:39-40 (KJV)  But he answered and said unto them, An 
evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall 
no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: [40] For 
as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so 
shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of 
the earth.  

Mark 8:12 (KJV)  And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, 
Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, 
There shall no sign be given unto this generation.  


No sign. Jesus' critics were in need of spiritual regeneration 
within, not of some outward token. The very words Christ spoke were in 
themselves an impressive "sign," would they but give heed. [SDA 

The prophet Jonas. Christ here points, first to the converting 
power of the preaching of Jonah as a "sign" to the people of Nineveh, 
even as His own preaching was a sign to the people of His day, and 
second,to the time element--three days and three nights--in the experience 
of Jonah. [SDA Commentary] 

By using the sign of Jonah, who was inside a great fish for 
three days, Jesus was predicting his death and resurrection. [Life 
Application SB] 

Now the Pharisees and Sadducees came to Christ, asking for a 
sign from heaven. When in the days of Joshua Israel went out to 
battle with the Canaanites at Bethhoron, the sun had stood still at the 
leader's command until victory was gained; and many similar wonders had 
been manifest in their history. Some such sign was demanded of Jesus. 
But these signs were not what the Jews needed. No mere external 
evidence could benefit them. What they needed was not intellectual 
enlightenment, but spiritual renovation.  {DA 406.1} 
"O ye hypocrites," said Jesus, "ye can discern the face of the 
sky,"--by studying the sky they could foretell the weather,--"but can ye 
not discern the signs of the times?" Christ's own words, spoken with 
the power of the Holy Spirit that convicted them of sin, were the 
sign that God had given for their salvation. And signs direct from 
heaven had been given to attest the mission of Christ. The song of the 
angels to the shepherds, the star that guided the wise men, the dove 
and the voice from heaven at His baptism, were witnesses for Him.  
{DA 406.2} 
"And He sighed deeply in His spirit, and saith, Why doth this 
generation seek after a sign?" "There shall no sign be given unto it, but 
the sign of the prophet Jonas." As Jonah was three days and three 
nights in the belly of the whale, Christ was to be the same time "in 
the heart of the earth." And as the preaching of Jonah was a sign to 
the Ninevites, so Christ's preaching was a sign to His generation. 
But what a contrast in the reception of the word! The people of the 
great heathen city trembled as they heard the warning from God. Kings 
and nobles humbled themselves; the high and the lowly together cried 
to the God of heaven, and His mercy was granted unto them. "The men 
of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation," Christ had 
said, "and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of 
Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here." Matt. 12:40, 41.  
{DA 406.3} 
Every miracle that Christ performed was a sign of His divinity. 
He was doing the very work that had been foretold of the Messiah; 
but to the Pharisees these works of mercy were a positive offense. 
The Jewish leaders looked with heartless indifference on human 
suffering. In many cases their selfishness and oppression had caused the 
affliction that Christ relieved. Thus His miracles were to them a reproach. 
 {DA 406.4} 
That which led the Jews to reject the Saviour's work was the 
highest evidence of His divine character. The greatest significance of 
His miracles is seen in the fact that they were for the blessing of 
humanity. The highest evidence that He came from God is that His life 
revealed the character of God. He did the works and spoke the words of 
God. Such a life is the greatest of all miracles.  {DA 406.5} 
When the message of truth is presented in our day, there are 
many who, like the Jews, cry, Show us a sign. Work us a miracle. 
Christ wrought no miracle at the demand of the Pharisees. He wrought no 
miracle in the wilderness in answer to Satan's insinuations. He does not 
impart to us power to vindicate ourselves or to satisfy the demands of 
unbelief and pride. But the gospel is not without a sign of its divine 
origin. Is it not a miracle that we can break from the bondage of Satan? 
Enmity against Satan is not natural to the human heart; it is implanted 
by the grace of God. When one who has been controlled by a 
stubborn, wayward will is set free, and yields himself wholeheartedly to 
the drawing of God's heavenly agencies, a miracle is wrought; so 
also when a man who has been under strong delusion comes to 
understand moral truth. Every time a soul is converted, and learns to love 
God and keep His commandments, the promise of God is fulfilled, "A 
new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within 
you." Ezek. 36:26. The change in human hearts, the transformation of 
human characters, is a miracle that reveals an ever-living Saviour, 
working to rescue souls. A consistent life in Christ is a great miracle. 
In the preaching of the word of God, the sign that should be 
manifest now and always is the presence of the Holy Spirit, to make the 
word a regenerating power to those that hear. This is God's witness 
before the world to the divine mission of His Son.  {DA 407.1} 

Many people, like these Jewish leaders, say they want to see a 
miracle so that they can believe. But Jesus knew that miracles never 
convince the skeptical. Jesus had been healing, raising people from the 
dead, and feeding thousands, and still people wanted him to prove 
himself. Do you doubt Christ because you haven't seen a miracle? Do you 
expect God to prove himself to you personally before you believe? Jesus 
says, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" 
(John 20:29). We have all the miracles recorded in the Old and New 
Testaments, 2,000 years of church history, and the witness of thousands. 
With all this evidence, those who won't believe are either too proud 
or too stubborn. If you simply step forward in faith and believe, 
then you will begin to see the miracles that God can do with your 
life! [Life Application SB] 

It's amazing that this demand would be made, in view of the 
hundreds of healings and other miracles Christ had performed in Judea and 
Galilee. When I was in college I worked in a mental institution, and 
taught a Bible class there. One of the other attendants was a 
philosophy major at the University of Michigan like myself, and not a 
believer. I suggested that fulfilled prophecy provided the proof he said 
he needed of Scripture's supernatural origin, and he took up the 
challenge. After studying for several months he agreed. Fulfilled prophecy 
did prove Scripture's claims. But he still refused to accept Christ. 
He had not really been open or wanted to prove Christianity true. 
He had hoped to prove it false. Though all the evidence pointed in 
the opposite direction, he persisted in his unbelief. Don't be 
surprised when some you witness to keep on in disbelief, even though they 
see answers to prayer and evidence of God at work in your life. 
Miracles didn't produce faith in Jesus' day. All we can do is what Jesus 
did. Confront unbelief and keep on ministering to those whose minds 
are not yet made up. [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary] 

The teachers of the Law and Pharisees frequently demanded Jesus 
provide a "sign from heaven" to prove His messiahship (11:16; cf. Matt. 
12:39; 16:4; Mark 8:11). Why didn't He provide it? Part of the answer 
lies in Scripture's emphasis on faith. We are to trust God and His 
Word to us. Yet part of the answer lies in unbelief. Whatever sign 
Jesus provided would not convince those determined not to believe. 
Even when Jesus did rise from the dead, His opponents refused to 
believe. If a person will not hear and respond to the Word of God, "to 
Moses and the Prophets," they simply "will not be convinced." 
It's good for us to remember this when we share the Gospel with 
others. The Word of God is living and vital. It reaches human hearts, 
and those who are open to God respond. Those who do not believe will 
not believe, and would not even if we could perform miracles before 
them in our own day. 
So we witness without hesitation, confident that where the seed 
of the Word finds fertile soil, new life will sprout. [The 365-Day 
Devotional Commentary re Luke 16:31]