A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. – Matt. 16:4 KJV
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The Pharisees and the Sadducees on one of those few occasions that they agree to unite and work together and in their usual character of always tempting Jesus with a view to trapping him in his speech, came up to Jesus Christ asking him to show them a sign from heaven probably of the existence of God or that he is from God. A sign will be an evidence of the existence of something and so demanding for a heavenly sign after claiming to be worshippers of the Almighty God would be strange to anyone and Jesus Christ is not exempted. He responded by calling them hypocrites reminding them of their ability to predict the weather with signs showing in the skies but pretending not to have enough evidence to support the existence of God or knowing how to recognise His Will.
Hypocrisy can be described as moral arrogance. It is a situation where someone presents a picture of one with high moral standards but in real terms is not anything near that. He called them hypocrites because he knows they are only pretending to be worshippers of God and presenting the picture of people who are next to God in the temple in terms of holiness (Matt. 23:1-7) so how could they now be asking for sign again of something that they claimed they had and which they were flaunting in the synagogues. He knew that even in their asking the questions, it was not in a sincere desire to know God and His Will but just a public show to convince the people that they are desirous of the things of God.
He went further in the scripture for today to make the following pronouncements:
1. He described them as wicked because of their hypocrisy.
2. He described them as adulterous because of their hypocrisy.
3. He made them realise that the only sign they will see is the sign that Jonah got.
Religious hypocrisy and deceit is something that God detests completely – 1Pet. 2:1; 1Pet. 3:10. You are better off not accepting to worship God than using his name and worship to cover up for an inner wicked personality or immorality. Whereas the people around may not be able to recognise those deceitful acts as they are mainly within the hypocritical Christian, the God whose name is been smeared and desecrated is able to see through all the deceit and is constantly depressed by such acts. This is because His name is being constantly ridiculed and brought to disrepute by such hidden acts which will eventually be revealed – Lk. 8:17.
Christians need to realise that they are better cold if that is their choice or hot if they choose to but a tepid attitude to their relationship with God can only attract rejection in the end – Rev. 3:15-17.
Jesus Christ describes hypocritical Christians in two words as earlier stated:
1. Wicked. Jesus Christ believes a hypocritical Christian is evil because there is a deliberate, conscious and well rehearsed effort to deceive fellow Christians in order to secure a selfish advantage. The hypocritical Christian leads people on a path of deception that can yield nothing and still is not moved by the awareness that the successful deceit of all those people can yield negative effects in their lives.
A hypocritical Christian gains undue advantage by giving fellow Christians a wrong impression of who he/she is and fellow Christians can easily be led into unfortunate situations for being successfully deceived by the individual who claims to be a Christian brother or sister. Is your belief in God and His son genuine? Are you honest in what you profess or is it a case of what you say being different from what you think or do? Being hypocritical is being evil and you are better off changing today as that could just be the reason for the discomfort you are experiencing in your life.
You cannot be known to be a worshipper of the Almighty God and yet be worshipping other gods. It is an act of deceit, it is evil, it is hypocritical and it can never yield comfort for such lives. Worship the Almighty God in truth (Jn. 4:24) because there in lies that expected positive reward of worship.
I pray that the Almighty God bestow on us all the true spirit of worship that we will learn to worship without deceit in Jesus name. Amen.