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Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh. Nineveh was a wicked city. It’s spelled out in the book of Nahum. Some of the sins included plotting evil against the Lord, cruelty in war, prostitution, witchcraft, and exploitation. Jonah, however, was convinced to go to Nineveh and preach against their sins. Nineveh, or course, responded to Jonah’s warnings and repented.
For this reason, Jesus tells the Pharisees and Sadducees in Matthew 16:4 that the only sign they will get will be the sign of Jonah. Unfortunately, the Pharisees and Sadducees only wanted to discredit the miracles of Jesus. The sign they were pushing for was to be used to prove that Jesus was the prince of devils (Matthew 9:34).
‘Doctrine’ is brought up in Matthew 16:12. Doctrine is teaching that is passed on by people of authority. That is why Jesus warned so strongly against it. The Pharisees had taken the Scriptures and determined how to apply them; thus, we have the reason for the teachers of the Law. They were telling God’s people how to live. The Pharisees had become so legalistic that the important thing was for the law to be carried out correctly and not whether or not it was a righteous act.
The Sadducees were mostly wealthy priests who only recognized the five books of Moses. For them, the prophets of the Old Testament and other scriptures didn’t exist. Politically they had more power than the Pharisees. But, the common people usually adhered to the teachings of the Pharisees. The Sadducees were attempting to limit Judaism so they could enjoy the benefits of Greek life.
Both sects believed Jesus was starting a rival sect and it was their intention to destroy this sect before it took hold. Hence, the warning in Matthew 16:6. All the signs were there that this was Jesus. How did they miss it?
Copies of the sermon are available and free. Call (4l7) 543-6219 to get a copy. Have a God-blessed, God-inspired, and God-filled week.