Recently, I had a dream about a red sky. I remember standing outside, holding my cell phone to my right ear, my neck long, eyes looking up to crimson clouds. My mouth bragging to my father over the phone, “Daddy. You’ve got to come see this sky. It’s red!”
I wake up to a quick Google search. “Red sky bible verse”. Matthew 16. What will I find there?
Well, what’ya know. Jesus schooling the Pharisees, again. Surprise, surprise. Let’s see what He’s saying.
“When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.”
What are you saying Jesus? Is it evil to seek signs and wonders?
No, that can’t be it. After all, just a few lines earlier, we witness miracle after miracle. In Matthew chapter 15, Jesus heals “the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others.” Then, after spending three days healing and teaching, Jesus couldn’t bear to see His followers starve; so, He multiplied seven loaves and a few small fish to become a massive meal that would feed well over four thousand people. This mysterious God man who performed wonders with such regularity cannot possibly say that signs are evil.
But He is rebuking them. What exactly did the Pharisees do to set Jesus off?
Let’s look at the text. Chapter sixteen verse one says, “And the Pharisees and the Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from Heaven.”
Why did the Pharisees come to Jesus? They came to test him. They facetiously asked the Word for a word from Heaven, refusing to believe or acknowledge that He came from Heaven.
Next question: what’s the difference between a Pharisee and a follower?
We find our answer in Chapter 15, verses 30 and 31.
“And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel.”
The difference between a Pharisee and a follower is motive. What is your motive? We’ve already seen the Pharisees’ motive – they came to test Jesus. But his followers simply came to Him. And when they saw His great works, they knew who to glorify – the God of Israel. They came to Him out of a holy curiosity, otherwise known as faith. They came not to test Him, but to glorify and experience Him.
And so, what manifested from their faith? Miracles! Signs! Wonders! The things the Pharisees didn’t get to see. They came to see Jesus, and stayed long enough for a miracle. His followers witnessed a divine wrecking of their reality when they came to Jesus from a place of need.
How does this relate to my dream?
I think we need to go back to Jesus’ rebuke one more time.
“When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’
Did you catch that?
The Pharisees interpret a red sky as two different things depending on the time of day. A red sky in the evening means fair weather, but a red sky in the morning means it’ll be stormy.
Huh? Sounds kind of like today’s meteorology.
Or, possibly faulty interpretation? Let’s keep reading.
After His frustrating encounter with the Pharisees, Jesus finds himself back with His disciples. I would imagine He’s a little ticked at the others testing Him. What were his first words to His boys? “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”
I love this. Jesus is such a genius – He is so good at confusing His disciples. See, they had just been moaning and pining over the fact they forgot to bring bread in the boat – despite the fact that they have seen Jesus multiply bread twice now, and they’re floating with the bread of life in their boat. They’re still mad that they forgot their lunch.
Uh oh. Now, it’s their turn to get yelled at.
“Oh you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”
What are they to beware of? Neither bread, nor a lack of bread. Bread was created by God; therefore it is subjected to the power of God and can be multiplied with just a simple prayer of thanks.
But what exactly is the leaven of the Pharisees? Thankfully, we have the entire Bible in our hands. Two books to the right, in Luke 12:1, Jesus makes it plain. “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
See, when you say one thing, and do another, you’re a hypocrite. Hypocrisy is the fruit of contradiction. Jesus quoted their contradictory interpretation of the red sky to represent their hypocritical lives! Hypocrites cannot please Jesus.
In what area of your life are you acting as a hypocrite?
Here, I’ll go first. I created an online dating profile.
I’m currently single. I have been for a long time. I know that the Lord is using this season of singleness to awaken my love story with Him; that He may be the sole receiver of my attention and affection, that He may continue to hold my hand and tell me I’m beautiful.
I know it’s just a season. I know that’s what season I’m in. I know He’s using it to teach me to trust Him.
But to deliberately create an online dating profile proves me a hypocrite. It contradicts the season I’m in.
In short: Interpret the times. Then, act accordingly. Do not brag aloud about your intuition in interpreting your destiny, and then contradict yourself behind closed doors.
Because, oh yeah, what does the next verse in Luke say?
“For nothing is covered up that will not be revealed or hidden that will not be known.”
For the record, I deleted my profile and I’m trusting God. I’m letting my actions align with my beliefs. I’m praying a prayer of David from Psalm 86: “Unite my heart to fear your name.”
I suggest you do the same.