When it is evening - There are certain signs of fair and foul weather, which ye are in the constant habit of observing, and which do not fail. - The signs of the times: the doctrine which I preach, and the miracles which I work among you, are as sure signs that the day-spring from on high has visited you for your salvation; but if ye refute to hear, and continue in darkness, the red and gloomy cloud of vindictive justice shall pour out such a storm of wrath upon you as shalt sweep you from the face of the earth.
See also Mark 8:11-12.
The Pharisees also, and the Sadducees - See the notes at Matthew 3:7.
Tempting - That is, trying him - feigning a desire to see evidence that he was the Messiah, but with a real desire to see him make the attempt to work a miracle and fail, so that they might betray him and ruin him.
A sign from heaven - Some miraculous appearance in the sky. Such appearances had been given by the prophets; and they supposed, if he was the Messiah, that his miracles would not all be confined to the earth, but that he was able to give some signal miracle from heaven. Samuel had caused it to thunder 1 Samuel 12:16-18; Isaiah had caused the shadow to go back ten degrees on the dial of Ahaz Isaiah 38:8; and Moses had sent manna from heaven, Exodus 16:4; John 6:31. It is proper to say, that though Christ did not choose then to show such wonders, yet far more stupendous signs from heaven than these were exhibited at his death.
Matthew 16:2, Matthew 16:3
He answered - The meaning of this answer is, There are certain indications by which you judge about the weather.
In the evening you think you can predict the weather tomorrow. You have evidence in the redness of the sky by which you judge. So there are sufficient indications on which you should judge concerning me and these times. My miracles, and the state of affairs in Judea, are an indication by which you should judge.
Is red - Almost all nations have observed this as an indication of fair weather.
In the morning the sky is red and lowering - That is, there are threatening clouds in the sky, which are made red by the rays of the rising sun. This, in Judea, was a sign of a tempest. In other places, however, the signs of a storm may be different.
The face of the sky - The appearance of the sky.
A wicked and adulterous generation - See the notes at Matthew 12:38-40. Mark adds Mark 8:12 that he signed deeply in spirit. He did not say this without feeling; he was greatly affected with their perverseness and obstinacy.
This chapter is based on Luke 13:1-9.
Christ in His teaching linked with the warning of judgment the invitation of mercy. “The Son of man is not come,” He said, “to destroy men's lives, but to save them.” Luke 9:56. “God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17. His mission of mercy in its relation to God's justice and judgment is illustrated in the parable of the barren fig tree. COL 212.1Read in context »
Then taking a boat with His disciples, He crossed the lake to Magdala, at the southern end of the plain of Gennesaret. In the border of Tyre and Sidon His spirit had been refreshed by the confiding trust of the Syrophoenician woman. The heathen people of Decapolis had received Him with gladness. Now as He landed once more in Galilee, where His power had been most strikingly manifested, where most of His works of mercy had been performed, and His teaching given, He was met with contemptuous unbelief. DA 405.1
A deputation of Pharisees had been joined by representatives from the rich and lordly Sadducees, the party of the priests, the skeptics and aristocracy of the nation. The two sects had been at bitter enmity. The Sadducees courted the favor of the ruling power in order to maintain their own position and authority. The Pharisees, on the other hand, fostered the popular hatred against the Romans, longing for the time when they could throw off the yoke of the conqueror. But Pharisee and Sadducee now united against Christ. Like seeks like; and evil, wherever it exists, leagues with evil for the destruction of the good. DA 405.2
Now the Pharisees and Sadducees came to Christ, asking for a sign from heaven. When in the days of Joshua Israel went out to battle with the Canaanites at Bethhoron, the sun had stood still at the leader's command until victory was gained; and many similar wonders had been manifest in their history. Some such sign was demanded of Jesus. But these signs were not what the Jews needed. No mere external evidence could benefit them. What they needed was not intellectual enlightenment, but spiritual renovation. DA 406.1Read in context »