COME FOLLOW ME
Sign Seekers and Sign Receivers
Matthew 16-17; Mark 9, Luke 9
Commentary by Lynne Hilton Wilson Ph.D.
In these chapters, Jesus is still in Galilee, primarily north of the Lake or Sea of Galilee. Remember the Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke—arrange everything geographically. After Jesus’ baptism, they tell all the stories of Jesus’ Galilean ministry, and then include one trip south to Jerusalem for the last week of His life. The Synoptic Gospels have no mention of a three-year ministry, so we do not know exactly when these events happened.1 Only John includes Jesus traveling back and forth several times to Jerusalem for three Passovers, and other feasts including Tabernacles, Dedication (Hanukah), and possibly Pentecost.2 We assume these events happened sometime in the second or third year of Jesus’ ministry as they come after the feeding of the 5,000 (which falls at the second Passover in John 6:4).
Pharisees Seek another Sign
Matthew 16:1–4; 12:38–39; Mark 8:11–13; Luke 12:54–56
Matthew 16:1 (Matthew 12:38; Mark 8:11; Luke 11:16)
“Pharisees and Sadducees” The Synoptic Gospels repeat a similar request for Jesus to show “a sign from heaven” four times—each ending with “the sign of Jonah.” Each time, the account has a slightly different audience (“scribes and Pharisees” in Matthew 12:38; “Pharisees” in Mark 8:11; and “others testing him” in Luke 11:16), suggesting that people repeatedly asked Jesus for a sign of his Messiahship. Their testing sounds similar to Satan’s temptations as they ask “him to show them a sign from heaven” (Matthew 16:1, NIV). ,