Prove it! The religious elites want “proof”. The atheists clamor for “proof”. Some days, so do I. It is an awful way to respond to Jesus. It is contemptuous.
This provokes Jesus. Jesus isn’t happy about it. Jesus wants me to radically change how I think and to act differently. In another account of this Jesus calls the religious elite an “evil and adulterous generation”. Evil He says. Consider that.
Jesus “proves it” every day. Jesus heals with being asked to. Jesus feeds us when we are hungry. Jesus clears out the demons. It is dangerous to demand it. Jesus constantly shows us the God is in a good mood. It is a remarkable lack of faith to take on the “prove it” attitude.
When they arrived, the Pharisees came out and started in on him, badgering him to prove himself, pushing him up against the wall. Provoked, he said, “Why does this generation clamor for miraculous guarantees? If I have anything to say about it, you’ll not get so much as a hint of a guarantee.” | Mark 8:11-12 (The Message Bible)
Here are some ideas to consider:
- Jesus and the disciples had crossed to the western side of the Sea of Galilee where they were met by the Pharisees [religious elites] who were still angry at Him because of His earlier indictment of their hypocrisy. This time they tempted Him to prove His divine authority by giving them a sign from heaven. They did not want an earthly miracle, such as the healing of a sick person. They wanted Him to do something spectacular, like bring fire from heaven or bread from heaven. This would prove He was indeed sent from God.
- Our Master’s response was one of deep grief and disappointment. How tragic that the religious leaders of God’s chosen people should be so hardhearted and spiritually blind! Their desire for a sign from heaven was but another evidence of their unbelief, for faith does not ask for signs. True faith takes God at His Word and is satisfied with the inward witness of the Spirit.
- Since Mark was writing primarily for Gentile readers, he did not include our Lord’s words concerning the sign of the Prophet Jonah. What is “the sign of Jonah”? Death, burial, and resurrection. The proof that Jesus is what He claimed to be is the fact of His own death, burial, and resurrection.
- Jesus left them and crossed to the east side of the Sea of Galilee, and en route taught His disciples an important spiritual lesson. It appears that they were almost as blind as the Pharisees! The men were having a private discussion about their food supply, because somebody had forgotten to pack lunch. Who was to blame?
- It must have grieved Jesus that His handpicked helpers were so spiritually obtuse. The fact that He had multiplied bread on two occasions and fed over 10,000 people had apparently made little impression on them! Why worry and argue over one loaf of bread when you have Jesus in the boat with you? Their minds were dull, their hearts were hard (see Mark 6:52), their eyes were blind, and their ears were deaf.
- I often have a tendency to forget His blessings. He meets my needs, but then when the next problem arises, I complain or become frightened. As long as we are with Jesus, we can be sure He will care for us. It would do us all good to pause occasionally and remind ourselves of His goodness and faithfulness.