Everybody talks about the weather. We complain when it doesn’t please us. We adore it when it does. We’re so interested in it, that we anxiously watch weather reports to see if we’ll have something to complain about or something to rejoice in.
No wonder the weather is such an easy topic to discuss even when there’s nothing else to discuss. In fact, one of the most natural ice breakers for getting someone to talk to you is, “What do you think about the weather?” Most persons will have either a positive response or a negative one.
It’s been quipped, “Don’t knock the weather. If it didn’t change once in a while, nine tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation,” (Kin Hubbard, Reader’s Digest).
Onetime, a conversation had already started between Jesus and his opponents that included the weather of all things. When the Sadducees and Pharisees challenged Jesus by asking him for a sign to prove his claims, he used weather to give them a report of what was to come.
Matthew 16:1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3 And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times? 4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away. (New American Standard Bible.)
Sign seeking is not necessarily wrong if it’s sincerely intended to find the Lord’s will in important matters. Gideon sought a sign to determine whether God was speaking to him or not (Judges 6:17, 36-39). Hezekiah sought a sign to know that the Lord would heal him (2 Kings 20:8). Jesus’ disciples asked him what the sign of his coming and the end of the age would be (Matthew 24:3; Luke 21:7).
On the other hand, the Jewish leaders were not asking for a sign from heaven because they sincerely wanted to know the Lord’s will, or be healed, or find out more about his coming. Rather, as Matthew records, they only wanted to test him to see if they could trick him into giving an answer that would cast doubt about the claim that he was the true Messiah of God. As always, Jesus knew the true intent of their hearts.
Many years later, the Apostle Paul would opine, “The Jews ask for signs,” (1 Cor. 1:22). But when it came to the message of the crucified Christ, this sign was a stumblingblock to the conversion of the Jewish people (v. 23). This situation hasn’t changed after all these generations. To this day, the Jews continue to stumble at this one obvious sign since they have yet to accept Jesus as their Messiah. One day, however, their eyes will be opened and that’s when the Jews and all the world will change (Zechariah 12:10; 14:9, 16-21; Matthew 23:37-39; John 19:37; Revelation 1:7).
Jesus came back with an answer to their request for a sign. But it wasn’t what they expected. They wanted some sign from heaven, perhaps like Elijah or one of the prophets would have performed—fire from heaven or giant hailstones showering down perhaps. They were probably not expecting something you’d ordinarily hear like a weather report. But that’s what they got.
For example, if they saw a red sky in the morning it meant that westerns winds from the Mediterranean Sea would bring a storm. Or, if the sky was red in the evening it will be fair weather the next day. Of course, the Jewish leaders knew you didn’t have to be a meteorologist to make these forecasts. What was Jesus doing, insulting their intelligence?
This reminds me of a joke. Often we hear the weather reporter on TV telling us that it is raining outside. Duh!?! Who needs a reporter for that? Just go outside and take a look!
Jesus actually used the weather as a parable—that is, he was giving an object lesson (weather being the object) to teach them a truth. In this case, the truth exposed their ignorance. Jesus made it clear: You know how to discern the weather conditions yet how is it you can’t discern the sign of the times even when you are looking at it right in front of you?
So, Jesus proceeds to point out their hypocrisy for even asking for a sign. Only a corrupt collection of evil doers would ask for a sign and not be willing to accept the truth. But they would get a sign alright—a sign that would show not only their generation but generations to come that he is truly the One whom Heaven has sent to be their Deliverer.
“The sign of Jonah,” takes into account the mission and purpose of Jesus to rescue us from sin and save us from eternal death. In Matthew 12:40, Jesus said, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Jesus is alluding to his death, burial, and resurrection. Truly, this is the ultimate sign of fulfilling the prophecies concerning his role as Messiah. When Jesus comes, it will be our living Savior who will come as our heavenly sign bringing eternal life to all who accept him as the Son of God and Lord of their lives.
Like the Jews, many do not see that sign. But Jesus is God’s own weather report to reveal his Son’s literal appearance from heaven someday. Matthew 24:27, “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
In the meantime, there will be a lot more signs of the times to show the nearness of his coming. Read Matthew 24 and make a list of all the signs Jesus gave including what will take place in the sky just before his return (vss. 29-31; See also, Isaiah 13:10; 34:4; 51:6; Joel 3:15; Rev. 6:12; 8:12). Talk about climate change. When God completes his plan for this planet as well as the entire universe, God will change the climate to its original, Eden-like nature or, as the Bible says, there will be “a new heaven and a new earth…” (Rev. 21:1; Isa. 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13).
Yes, no more complaining about the weather. When that Blessed Age comes, skies will be clear, God’s glory will shine brighter than the sun, and never more will there be gloom and darkness on the earth (Rev. 22:1-5). Now, what a conversational starter this promise ought to be whenever we talk to someone! “Say, do you know God’s weather forecast for the future?” should open up plenty to talk about! We look forward to this Great Day, for God’s weather report brings SONshine to our souls everyday!
Good News to You!