The Folly of Religious Arguments: Mark 8:11-13
“11) The Pharisees came out and began to argue with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, to test Him. 12) Sighing deeply in His spirit, He *said, “Why does this generation seek for a sign? Truly I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13) Leaving them, He again embarked and went away to the other side.”Mark‬ ‭8‬:‭11‬-‭13‬
According to these verses, the Pharisees came out to argue with Jesus. Those who are stagnant in spirit usually resort to religious arguments and debate. (See Zephaniah 1:12) I loathe religious arguments.
They demanded to see a sign from heaven. They were testing Jesus. Think about it, the Pharisees claimed to be the religious leaders. They claimed to be spokesmen for God. Why didn’t they offer a sign to prove their spiritual power? Answer: they had none!
In 1 Corinthians 4:19-20, Paul demanded not empty words but proof of spiritual power from his critics. Paul had a valid approach.
The longer I am in ministry, the less impressed I am with theological debate, logic or empty rationalism. Show me the confirming fruit of God working through your ministry. Show me what God is doing to confirm that you are from Him and not void of spirit.
Matthew covered this same exchange in 16:1-12. There Jesus offered the sign of Jonah. His coming death, burial and resurrection were going to be the ultimate proof of His claim to Deity.
But think of the context. Jesus had just finished feeding the five thousand and the four thousand. He had healed many who were sick and cast out demons. He had even walked on the water. What more proof was needed?
Meanwhile, His critics had done absolutely nothing to prove their power or authority. But they were relentless in their attack on Him. This was the hight of hypocrisy.
Jesus then rebuked His disciples for having such small faith! He seemed to pin it on the empty religious leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Their attacks were having a dulling affect on His disciples as well. Their faith was being undermined.
Be careful of the hypnotic effect of empty religious arguments and debate. They can be void of spirit and yet have dulling affect on you. Always stop and examine the fruit!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

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