Rejection by the Influential

Temptation by the Enemy (Matthew 15:39-16:4; Mark 8:10-12). After the feeding, Jesus sent the
crowd away and entered into the boat and came into the borders of Magadan (or Dalmanutha in Aramaic)
on the southeast shore of the sea, near Capernaum. Here the Pharisees and Sadducees tested Him asking
for a sign from heaven. Satan’s back tempting Jesus to take the easy way. Since they attributed His
miracles to the prince of demons, Beelzebub, a sign from heaven would be different. Perhaps they
wanted fire from heaven had Elijah had done. Asking for signs of their own choosing reflects their
spiritual blindness. As He had done when previously challenged to give proof, Jesus said the only proof
that would be given would be His resurrection from the dead—the sign of Jonah. Jesus described their
spiritual condition:

1. They could interpret things physical and earthily, but not things spiritual.
2. They were wicked, in that they tempted God.
3. They were adulterous in that they had forsaken the true God for their empty religion.

Jonah is a type of Christ in the OT:

Chapter 1 pictures Christ’s vicarious death.
Chapter 2 pictures Christ’s burial and resurrection.
Chapter 3 pictures the Gentile response to Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.
Chapter 4 pictures the Jewish response to Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.

The religious leaders were very ignorant of the Scriptures or refused to recognize Jonah as a prophet.
They replied to Nicodemus when he tried to defend Jesus, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and
you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee” (John 7:52). Undoubtedly, Nicodemus took
their advice and believed in Christ. He would have discovered that Jonah came from Gath Helper of
Zebulun in Galilee (2 Kings 14:25; Joshua 19:13). Nazareth is located in area allotted to the tribe of
Zebulun. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The
crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee” (Matthew 21:10-11). Their
declaration made the entire nation culpable and doubly so when Christ arose from the dead within three
days fulfilling the sign of Jonah.

Warning Against Rejection (Matthew 16:5-12; Mark 8:13-21). Because of opposition, Jesus left by
boat for the region of Bethsaida. Christ warns His disciples to watch out and beware of the yeast of the
Pharisees, Sadducees and Herodians. Herod had rejected John’s message and put him to death; and the
Pharisees were rejecting Jesus and plotting His death. Yeast and teaching resemble each other in several
respects: Both operate invisibly; both are very potent; and both have a tendency gradually to augment
their sphere of influence. Combining the accounts of Matthew and Mark, there are four different errors:

1. The Traditionalism of the Pharisees
2. The Secularism of the Herodians
3. The Skepticism of the Sadducees
4. The Pessimism of the Disciples

Apparently, the disciples were more concerned about physical things than spiritual, for they thought He
was concerned that they had no bread on the boat. He rebukes them for their “little faith,” for if they
needed bread, could they not trust Him to provide it? They were hearing and seeing! They did not
understand!

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