Matthew 16:1-12

Talks for Growing Christians

The Pharisees and Sadducees Ask the Lord For a "Sign"

Matthew 16:1-12

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Lesson Number 41

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. People of great faith do not need signs.
  2. People of little faith do not have spiritual discernment.

Practical Application

  1. How many more chances will you get?


  1. Who were the Pharisees and Sadducees?
  2. Did these two groups normally get along?
  3. What were the Pharisees and Sadducees seeking when they asked the Lord for a sign from heaven?
  4. What was “the sign of the prophet Jonah” (Matthew 16:4) ?
  5. What “signs of the times” was our Lord referring to in Matthew 16:3?
  6. Why did the Lord chastise His disciples for having little faith (Matthew 16:8)?


  1. The Pharisees were the conservative legalistic Jews of Jesus’ day. The Sadducees were the theological liberals of the day.
  2. No, but they found common ground in opposing the Lord.
  3. They were either looking for a supernatural miracle in the sky, or, since they did not believe His previous miracles were of God, they now wanted a true sign of proof from heaven.
  4. This referred to the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection. See Matthew 12:38-40.
  5. The signs of the time included the miracles the Lord was performing before them, as prophesied in the Old Testament Scripture. The signs also included the ministry of John the Baptist, the prophesied forerunner of the Messiah.
  6. Because they had no discernment about the Lord’s message.


  1. The Pharisees should have recognized the signs of the times and realized the Messiah had come. But they were blind to these signs. There are biblical signs of the times today showing the coming of the Lord is near. Discuss the signs of the times. Even unbelievers should recognize these signs, yet they often explain them away.
  2. The disciples had saving faith, but they were rebuked for having little faith as believers. All believers have saving faith, but many Christians don’t show much faith in their walk of faith. It is crucial for you to grow and mature in your faith by spending time in God’s Word. How have you seen this to be true?


  1. Are you waiting for a sign before you believe? God has already given you signs – His Son rose from the dead! You don’t know how many more chances you will get. Believe today!

Key Verses

  • “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Matthew 16:4
  • “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” Matthew 16:6

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