Devotionals Archive

Daybreak: Matthew 16:1-12

Mar 15, 2021

“The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would show them a sign from heaven.” (Matthew 16:1)

Each of us is surrounded by miracles if we will just open our eyes and see them. One lady said, “The first miracle I remember was when I was about four years old. My finger was smashed while playing in the yard. My father put the Bible on it, and then he prayed. The Lord took the pain away instantly, and I went out to play after it was wrapped.”

Another woman was born a month prematurely, and then broke out with smallpox. She was so sick and tiny, it did not seem that she could live, and the doctor expected just to sign her death certificate. However, her parents put in a request for prayer, and the Lord healed her.

A young man was called to be a pastor in another city. He and his wife had recently purchased a home and had done some remodeling. The sales market was slow and prospects for selling their house looked dim. Yet, one week after it was put on the market, the house sold for a good price. They knew it was a miracle.

In the springtime, flowers shoot out of the ground from bulbs that have spent the winter buried in the dirt. A field turns green with tender shoots of grain. The rivers run into the ocean, but the ocean does not overflow. These are all God’s miracles — witnesses in nature of His power.

Although miracles are all around us, we must have a desire to see God’s workings in order for them to generate faith in our souls. Jesus chided the people of His time because they would not believe His works that were performed in their midst. No matter how many miracles people may hear about or personally witness, if they do not want to believe what God has done, nothing will make them believe. 

Remembering previous miracles that God has performed for us will help us see His hand in subsequent events in our lives. Let us remember His past goodness so that when we come across similar situations, we can look back and say, “If God could take care of that situation, He can take care of this one as well.”


This chapter begins with a challenge to Jesus’ ministry by the Pharisees and Sadducees. They asked Him to produce a sign from Heaven to prove He was the Messiah. Here, as elsewhere, these two groups were teamed up against Jesus. Ordinarily, due to various philosophical differences, they were strong rivals of each other. They united when they faced Jesus, however, because in Him they had a common enemy. 

Jesus responded by saying that their generation was wicked and adulterous. By adulterous He meant that they had turned aside from God and they worshiped false gods. Jesus said that the only sign given to them would be the sign of the prophet Jonah, which referred to the fact that He would die and rise again the third day.

There were many signs in Jesus’ ministry: healings, calming the sea, casting out devils, even raising the dead. But those were signs for people who believed in Jesus. For the wicked and (spiritually) adulterous, the only sign would be the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. By refusing to believe His message, the Pharisees and Sadducees barred themselves from seeing the signs that would have given them faith.

Jesus warned His disciples against false doctrine. He said to have no part in the leaven (symbolic of sin) of the scribes and Pharisees. Leaven, or yeast, spreads through a whole lump of dough and makes all of it rise. By this comparison, Jesus tried to warn His followers so the faithless enemies of His mission would not influence them. He knew that if His disciples spent time with the unbelieving, their own faith would soon weaken and crumble. 

The faithlessness of the scribes and Pharisees is referred to here as their “doctrine.” Doctrine is not simply what we speak, but our actions and our attitudes as well. The Pharisees’ stiff-necked attitude was as much a part of their doctrine as anything they taught about the Bible.

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines – Used by permission per WORDsearch)
IV.   The opposition to the King
      C.   The consummation of the King’s rejection
            4.   Rejection of the Pharisees and Sadducees (16:1-12)
                  a.   The request for a sign in the midst of their rejection (16:1)
                  b.   The rejection by the King (16:2-4)
                  c.   A warning concerning Pharisaic doctrine (16:5-12)

A Closer Look

  1. What did Jesus say the people of his time could discern? 
  2. If Jesus was walking with us today, what doctrines might He bid us beware of?
  3. Jesus said to the disciples, “O ye of little faith.” How can we increase our faith today?


When God performs a miracle in our lives, we must take note of it. God wants to use that miracle to strengthen our faith and bring us closer to Him.

Reference Materials