Welcome back study friends! If you just stumbled upon this site, we are moving into week 3 of a study entitled Why Israel Matters. It is being taught live at CalvaryPHX, but I’m posting summaries online for those outside the Phoenix area who wish to follow along. You are welcome here!
Over the first two weeks, we have established that God has ordained a season, for a reason, and that we are living in the calm before the storm. In fact, the title of this week’s lesson is “Signs of the Times: Storm Clouds Rising.” We know, despite the present calm, that a storm is coming. How do we know? We see the signs! So, let’s dig in to discover those signs and what God’s Word has to say about them.
In Matthew 16, Jesus is addressing the Pharisees and Sadducees…the “smart people” of the day. He was telling them about signs. Let’s pick it up in verses 1-3:
The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?”
As usual (it seems), the Pharisees and Sadducees were testing Jesus, asking for signs from heaven. But Jesus rebuked them by stressing that, despite how knowledgeable they were about weather signs, they did not know how to discern the signs of the times.
A similar thing happened when Jesus addressed the crowds that followed Him. These were not necessarily the most learned people, but simply those who followed His teaching. Check out Luke 12:54-56:
And He was also saying to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming,’ and so it turns out. And when you see a south wind blowing, you say, ‘It will be a hot day,’ and it turns out that way. You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time?”
Indeed, they too missed the signs of the present day. But what signs had they missed, and what signs were they about to miss?
The Old Testament prophets made a living telling about signs! Among many other things, they prophesied of Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection. Here are examples of OT prophecies Jesus fulfilled, though the crowds and others “missed the signs!”
So, I’m wondering…are we “missing the signs?” As children of God, our Father is not into keeping secrets from us. In fact, I believe He desires to share the “secret things,” even as He did His people, in order that we may discern His guidance. (Deuteronomy 29:29)
Do we see His signs, or are we too busy looking at the things around us to notice? I don’t want to be caught discerning the weather when there is so much more He wants us to know! How about you?
Check back in tomorrow when we peak into a conversation Jesus had with His disciples!