12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.”
“Signs, signs, everywhere a sign, blockin out the scenery, breakin my mind. Do this, don’t do that. Can’t you read the signs?” Those were the words to a hit song for the Five-Man Electrical Band in 1971. It was a satirical commentary on a society filled with signs telling people how to dress, how to act, and to keep out. It also would have made a great answer by Jesus to the Pharisees in Mark 8.
They wanted a sign to prove Jesus was the Messiah. Can you believe it? After healing the lame, deaf, and dumb, and even raising the dead – they still wanted a sign. Verse 12 says, “Jesus, sighed deeply in his spirit”. And then, He said “NO”. I love that. Jesus, full of love and compassion, still knew how to say no. Jesus knew if they didn’t believe what their eyes had already seen, they wouldn’t believe yet another sign.
I think we are often like the Pharisees without realizing it. We still want signs from Jesus, don’t we? Have you ever been unsure of something, perhaps a real important decision, and so you said, “Please Lord? Just give me a sign of what to do?” Sure you have. So have I. But, that is because of the littleness of our faith.
Jesus has given us so many great and precious promises, that He will always be with us, never forsake us, and will give us whatever we ask in His name; it’s a wonder we still ask for signs. One of the reasons I think we ask for such signs is because we don’t know the New Testament or Jesus well enough. We haven’t really walked the gospels with Jesus to hear His promises. We believe in Him, but don’t really “know” Him.
Lent is a time for getting to “know” Jesus intimately. Of course anytime is, but Lent offers us a time to be intentional about doing so. Jesus wants to give us the desires of our hearts, providing we find those desires in line with His will. In other words, providing our desires don’t violate his moral law, then we are free in Christ to pursue what our hearts feel called to do.
St. Paul reminds us that, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” (Col. 3:23). Jesus doesn’t care if we want to work in a factory, start a business, or become a doctor, as long as we do it for him and his glory.
Next time you think you need a sign, try reading scripture. I’m sure you’ll hear God speaking wisdom to you. And, if you need wisdom on a subject, remember that St. James tells us to ask, and God will give it. But, don’t doubt when He gives you the answer (James 1:5). But, most of all, rather than wait till you’re in a situation and need a sign, make the most of every day by spending time getting to know Jesus. He loves you more than you’ll ever know. And, no matter how bad things get, He will always raise you from the ashes
Grace & Peace for a Holy Lent,
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”