REV. JOSEPH M. MAY - JOY! FELLOWSHIP
1. And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. 2. He answered them, "When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.' 3. And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah." So he left them and departed. Matthew 16:1-4 ESV
The Pharisees and Sadducees wanted to test Jesus because they were not satisfied with Him. They were not content with His words and did not believe that this could be the Savior, Redeemer, or even God Himself. This could not be the fulfiller of the law so there was obvious discontentment.
Jesus brings out the weather because it was making the inference that the religious leaders could look at the skies and based upon their experience, knowledge and understanding they could forecast the weather. In other words, they acted like a "poor man's" meteorologist.
However, when it came to Christ, even though everything Jesus was doing and saying lined up with the will, purpose, and word of God they were still in denial. They denied who Jesus was even though Jesus stood before them and fulfilled the will of God and brought Him glory.
Jesus calls them adulterous because the nation of Israel was considered to be God's Bride, any people who surrender their lives to God are considered to the Bride of Christ. This is the modern-day church.
Pastor John Piper states it like this: "But people who thought they were the people of God were, by and large, willing to have him as their husband. He was not what they expected, and they did not want to be his bride. They were in that sense adulterous. Their hearts went after other spouses-other gods, other treasures … but, in fact, the problem is they don't want Him as their bridegroom. They are dominated by a spirit of adultery. They prefer other sources of satisfaction."
And this is what we can be in danger of doing when we do not acknowledge who Jesus is in relation to us. We desire for Him to be a part of our lives but while still pursuing our will. We want to hear a gospel that is pleasing to our ears and fills our bellies. Yes, we can be just as adulterous as the religious leaders in Jesus time. We cannot remain faithful to God because we do not want to fully submit or give ourselves over to Him.
In any relationship, in which someone else is always surrendering their desires to accommodate ours, will appear to be a joyous and fulfilling relationship because we are getting what we want at the expense of someone else. Whether it is when we quit the job we hated because have the job we wanted, we move from our old house that was too small to the house that has more room, we get divorced from our spouse whom we have fallen out of love with and marry the one we were secretly lusting or having an affair with because they make us feel good for the moment, we create chaotic situations so others will look to us to save them giving us a false sense of power because we want to control, or we take narcotics to give a temporary relief to the pain we feel.
Let me tell you this kind of thinking is truly coveting. Coveting is not simply just wanting something someone else has, it is more so saying that God misappropriated what He gave you. You are saying it is not enough and God needs to fix it ASAP! When you get what you want, the joy of having it finally fades. The dream job becomes a nightmare. The spacious house isn't big enough. The affair takes an unexpected horrific turn and destroys us on various levels. The drugs can't keep us high enough to mask that pain and it certainly doesn't take the pain away.
These types of relationships or actions are not only toxic, they are also abusive and void of Christ. We tend to cover these selfish and prideful actions up with religious overtones. We seek pastors, preachers, teachers, and friends to confirm that what we are doing is Godly and our aim is righteous. Those who speak against us are demonized with scripture, publicly mocked, called hypocrites, as well as recipients of displacement of our personal sin.
In our human relationships, we can get away with us but for only so long. But in regard to our relationship with God let us not even attempt to believe we can do this. If we think the Lord is only concerned with giving us what we want we are sadly mistaken. Understand that Christ is enough. He is what we should be pursuing. We should find contentment in Him and find our satisfaction in Him.
Relationships that are self-centered and not God-focused are easily destroyed, manipulated, or abusive. They are this way because the individuals in the relationship will only seek to please themselves and not sacrifice for each other. They will not give of themselves but will only look to satisfy their needs.
Either there will be an abusive situation through bullying, manipulation will be rampant, and all will be discontented. But in a God-centered relationship, there is no need to seek contentment or satisfaction elsewhere because they are found in Christ. The heart of the individual is surrendered to Christ and only want to please Him, so whether through suffering or joy they are at peace because they are at peace with Christ. They see Jesus as their Redeemer, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, and Everlasting Father. In other words, Jesus is all they need. They are not only sure of this; they are certain, and it is evident in how they live. They are secure in Him and not looking to feel secure through someone or something as if it will truly fulfill them. They are complete and content in Christ.
The religious leaders were looking for satisfaction in unrighteous living rather than the Living God. This is something we must consider daily. Are we more satisfied with getting what we want as opposed to being satisfied with a beautiful Savior? Do we argue with Jesus and pressure Him to prove Himself to us and do what we say if He wants us to believe in Him? Or will we be transformed by Him, satisfied in Him, and find contentment in Him because we love Him so?