See this passage explained in Matthew 16:1-12.
Sighed deeply in his spirit - His heart was deeply affected at their wickedness and hypocrisy. The word “spirit” here is taken as the seat of the emotions, passions, affections. He drew groans deeply from his breast.
No sign be given - That is, no such sign as they asked, to wit, a sign “from heaven.” He said a sign should be given, the same as was furnished by Jonas, Matthew 16:4. But this was not what they “asked,” nor would it be given “because” they asked it.
Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees - See Matthew 16:6.
Of Herod - Of the Herodians - of Herod and his followers. Matthew, instead of “Herod,” has “the Sadducees.” It is not improbably that he cautioned them against them all. The Pharisees sought his life, and were exceedingly corrupt in their doctrine and practice; the Sadducees denied some of the essential doctrines of religion, and the Herodians probably were distinguished for irreligion, sensuality, and corrupt living. They were united, therefore, with the Pharisees and Sadducees in opposing the claims of Jesus. Matthew has recorded his caution to avoid the Pharisees and Sadducees, and Mark has added, what Matthew had omitted. the caution likewise to beware of the Herodians. Thus, the evangelists speak the same thing.
The royalty was placed at the lowest figure. Then this confederacy held this example up as a rule for others. Warnings were given me that all this was the working out of a system of oppression and robbery, and that the whole institution was leavened throughout with corrupt principles, that the light of God was fast departing from all who were engaged in this confederacy. God sanctioned none of this spirit. He could not place His signature upon this devising. He would forsake these men, remove His Spirit from those who entered upon this course, and the glory of His presence would depart from them. PM 150.1Read in context »
Publishing Houses to Avoid Strife for Supremacy—In book making there is a striving for the supremacy.... God says to every soul, “Take heed.” The leaven of influence is a powerful thing. Whether good or evil, it gathers all to itself. If the leaven of selfishness, covetousness, and hardheartedness is allowed to enter, it will subdue all the properties of the body to corrupting force. There will be no bowels of mercy, no tender consideration, no fighting against objectionable traits of character, which so quickly develop into giants of evil. Unless this root of bitterness is cast out of the soul, it will continually spring up, and by it many will be defiled.—Manuscript 131, 1899. PM 157.2Read in context »
The character of Christ is an infinitely perfect character, and He must be lifted up, He must be brought prominently into view, for He is the power, the might, the sanctification and righteousness of all who believe in Him. The men who have had a Pharisaical spirit, think if they hold to the good old theories, and have no part in the message sent of God to His people, they will be in a good and safe position. So thought the Pharisees of old, and their example should warn ministers off that self-satisfied ground. 3SM 186.2Read in context »
When the message of truth is presented in our day, there are many who, like the Jews, cry, Show us a sign. Work us a miracle. Christ wrought no miracle at the demand of the Pharisees. He wrought no miracle in the wilderness in answer to Satan's insinuations. He does not impart to us power to vindicate ourselves or to satisfy the demands of unbelief and pride. But the gospel is not without a sign of its divine origin. Is it not a miracle that we can break from the bondage of Satan? Enmity against Satan is not natural to the human heart; it is implanted by the grace of God. When one who has been controlled by a stubborn, wayward will is set free, and yields himself wholeheartedly to the drawing of God's heavenly agencies, a miracle is wrought; so also when a man who has been under strong delusion comes to understand moral truth. Every time a soul is converted, and learns to love God and keep His commandments, the promise of God is fulfilled, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.” Ezekiel 36:26. The change in human hearts, the transformation of human characters, is a miracle that reveals an ever-living Saviour, working to rescue souls. A consistent life in Christ is a great miracle. In the preaching of the word of God, the sign that should be manifest now and always is the presence of the Holy Spirit, to make the word a regenerating power to those that hear. This is God's witness before the world to the divine mission of His Son. DA 407.1
Those who desired a sign from Jesus had so hardened their hearts in unbelief that they did not discern in His character the likeness of God. They would not see that His mission was in fulfillment of the Scriptures. In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus said to the Pharisees, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Luke 16:31. No sign that could be given in heaven or earth would benefit them. DA 407.2
Jesus “sighed deeply in His spirit,” and, turning from the group of cavilers, re-entered the boat with His disciples. In sorrowful silence they again crossed the lake. They did not, however, return to the place they had left, but directed their course toward Bethsaida, near where the five thousand had been fed. Upon reaching the farther side, Jesus said, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” The Jews had been accustomed since the days of Moses to put away leaven from their houses at the Passover season, and they had thus been taught to regard it as a type of sin. Yet the disciples failed to understand Jesus. In their sudden departure from Magdala they had forgotten to take bread, and they had with them only one loaf. To this circumstance they understood Christ to refer, warning them not to buy bread of a Pharisee or a Sadducee. Their lack of faith and spiritual insight had often led them to similar misconception of His words. Now Jesus reproved them for thinking that He who had fed thousands with a few fishes and barley loaves could in that solemn warning have referred merely to temporal food. There was danger that the crafty reasoning of the Pharisees and the Sadducees would leaven His disciples with unbelief, causing them to think lightly of the works of Christ. DA 407.3Read in context »