Sign Above

Sign Above
Devotion In Motion
Morning Inspiration
Matthew 16:1-4
  “Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven.” Pharisees and Sadducees would be like Republicans and Democrats – Liberals and Conservatives – Rush Limbaugh and Nancy Pelosi – joining forces. Here’s Hannity and Hilary teaming up. Each group believed the problem with the nation was the other. The only cause powerful enough to bring these opposing factions together was their hatred of Jesus. 
Now they come questioning His authority – asking for a sign. Notice they ask for “a sign from heaven.” The rabbis taught that demons could perform miracles on earth, but only God could perform miracles in heaven. “(Jesus) answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.” 
The Jews didn’t need the weather person to know what the day would hold. Usually, the sky gives itself away. A colorful sunset means fair weather – a colorful sunrise signals a storm. When it came to weather the Jews were pretty perceptive, but when it came to spiritual realities a raindrop could smack them in the nose and they wouldn’t know it was raining. Spiritually speaking, Jews in the first century were dense. Jesus had demonstrated power over disease, demons, nature, and sin. He could even manipulate the molecular structure of fish and bread. There was no other conclusion, but He was God.  
Yet because Jesus didn’t come from their schools, and didn’t honor their traditions, and refused to bow to their authority – they rejected the obvious. Rather than “Son of God,” they called Jesus a blasphemer. And this from “The People of the Book” – the Jews were supposed to be guided by Scripture, yet they ignored the prophecies and descriptions of Jesus. The Old Testament talked about Jesus’ birth, His nature, His ministry, even His miracles – but the Jews refused to read. Pride had closed their minds. 
In verse 4 Jesus says, “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” This sign Jesus explained in 12:40, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” 
In Jonah 2:2 the prophet cried out from the gullet of the great fish, “Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and You heard my voice.” Sheol or “Hades” was the Old Testament abode of the dead. Did Jonah literally die, go to Sheol, then rise from the dead to be spit out on the shore? Or did He just feel like hell in the stomach of the fish? We’re not sure. But just as Jonah’s body was 72 hours in the fish’s belly – Jesus spent 3 days and 3 nights in Sheol. He was preaching to the Old Testament saints held there. Today when a believer dies he goes straight to heaven. But in Old Testament times Jesus hadn’t yet opened the door to  heaven, so believers went to Hades. 
 Hades or Sheol was a spiritual place – located in a different dimension – that apparently overlaps with the center of the earth. In a few verses, Jesus will use the phrase “the gates of Hell (or Hades.)” Could these “gates” be portals around the globe where the spirits of men transfer from the physical to the spiritual realm? Jonah was in the sea, in a fish, for 3 days – then he reappeared. 
In the same way, Jesus will be under the earth for 3 days – then reappear at His resurrection. Other men have done miracles. But Jesus is the only person who was dead, and was resurrected never to die again. This is the sign that sets Him apart. The sign of Jonah pointed to the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus is saying to the Jews, “If you don’t believe in My resurrection, nothing else will convince you.”   
Jesus overcame death for you and for me. The death he died he died with you and me on his mind and when he was resurrected, his thinking never changed.
He overcame death to free us from the chains of sin, from the bondage of the devil himself.
He overcame death to show us and give us true freedom. It’s been said that “a man in chains who has Christ in his heart is freer than a man who doesn’t”
To be free all you have to do is call to him and repent or admit that you are a sinner dead in your sins and ask him to come into your life and forgive you. Oh you say i can’t do that, it’s too simple! And that’s the point Jesus already did all the work for you. All you have to do is accept his Lordship over you. 

“Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong”.

John Diefenbaker.

How free are you today? Receive Jesus and be free!!!
Victor Tafoya
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