Kristyn Berry, Volunteer Writer, Crystal Lake | June 19, 2023

The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.

Matthew 16:1-4

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone where you know that no matter what you say or do, they just aren’t going to budge? You’re convinced you have the right answer, but it seems like God could come down and meet with them face to face like he did with Moses, and they still wouldn’t change their mind.

In today’s Scripture, we see a call back to Jonah (and Matthew 12:38-41). God had saved Jonah from the belly of the whale–the whale he landed in because he didn’t want to follow God’s direction–and this saving was just the sign the Ninevites needed to repent and turn toward God. Jesus knows that even though He will die and rise again, not even being raised from the dead is going to compel the Pharisees and Sadducees to repent of their ways. 

What did Jesus do in that moment? The Scripture says he “left them and went away.” Sometimes, actually oftentimes, wisdom is walking away. It’s agreeing to disagree because, unlike Jesus, we can’t see directly into someone’s heart. 

My daughter is nearing the end of her fourth season playing club volleyball. She loves playing, and often, after playing in a tournament, she will stay and watch other teams play, spending a full day focused on volleyball. She watches and learns from what the players and teams focus on. During her most recent evaluation, her coaches shared what they look for in a player. One of the top characteristics is teachability. Do they listen to the coach and learn from their mistakes? They explained when a player is not teachable, they are often not coachable. No matter how many times the coach corrects the player, they make the same mistakes repeatedly.

The Pharisees and Sadducees were more than just unteachable, they had hard hearts that weren’t willing to change. Jesus knew to walk away. We can do the same, and when we do, we can pray for that person and trust God to do a work that only He can do. 

Not all hearts are teachable. And only Jesus really knows. 

Next Steps 

Reflect on your life and honestly ask yourself, “where could I grow in teachability?” Draw in a deep relaxing breath, put a hand over your heart, and be comforted knowing He is with you and at work in each area of your life.

Going Deeper

It’s the start of a new week and a new chapter! If you have a printer, visit BibleGateway.com and print out all of Chapter 16. You can use this printout all week and mark it up. If you don’t, you can write in your Bible. Next, read the chapter and ask yourself the five W’s and an H.

  1. Who is speaking and to whom?
  2. Where is it taking place?
  3. When did it happen?
  4. What happened?
  5. Why did it happen?
  6. How did it happen?