Sign of the Times
And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 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. 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)
Why is it so difficult for us to discern the sign of the times? Is it for lack of signs? In the passage above, the enemies of Jesus came to him asking for a sign from heaven. Jesus was incredulous. How could they not see the miraculous signs Jesus was doing every day that attested he was from God? They weren’t blind: they could read the signs of the sky and predict the weather. Yet, they were blinded by their own hypocrisy from seeing the signs of the times all around them. Those who were supposed to be the leaders of God’s people could not properly understand the world around them because they were blinded by their own corruption.
Christians today should find this passage troubling. We have plenty of signs all around us that things are amiss. I need not point them out here as any list I make would seem insignificant compared to the many things I would not have room to mention. The signs are there. We know our society is in deep trouble. Yet, like the days of Jesus, God’s people are divided into competing factions who are busy pointing out some else as the main problem. Amidst the shouts of denouncing each other, we cannot hear the cries of danger all around us. We know that trouble is coming but we cannot seem to do anything about it. We throw up our hands and turn away into our churches and our homes to take care of our own business. But the problems of our society that we refuse to face keep growing and multiplying, threatening one day to overwhelm us.
Have we become like the Pharisees and Sadducees? Have we become blinded by our own corruption? We are so intent on pointing out the sins of others and waiting for God to punish them, that we fail to see that the heart of the problem is ourselves. The Pharisees and Sadducess assumed that they would be vindicated and that their enemies would be destroyed. They rejected anyone, including Jesus, who did not bring them this message. Christians must not make this same mistake today. As we look around us and see all the danger signs around us in society, we must recognize that these are not warning signs to someone else but to us. We once lived within a Christian culture and we now living in an increasingly pagan culture. This is not something that has been forced upon us but something Christians have freely chosen. We are at fault. Nothing will change unless we change. The time for merely talking about our problems is over, Christians United! wants to do something about them.