Influence of the Religious System

You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. (Mt. 16:1-12)

The Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Essenes were the three sects among the Jews. Pharisees were the most popular during Jesus’ time. They strictly followed the written Law and the traditions of the elders, who, according to them, have the authority to explain and interpret the Law. Each party tried to explain the Law in detail as per its view and lay down rules for others to follow. They tried to influence people by their ideology and exert authority over them. This often made life difficult for ordinary people. Incidentally, Pharisees and Sadducees could never get along theologically and ideologically. Pharisees believed in angels and the bodily resurrection of believers while Sadducees did not believe any of this. They felt that Jesus was gaining influence among ordinary folks and found Him as a threat to their authority.

Artificial Unity
To attack Jesus leaders of these two parties came together. This was an unholy union with a common agenda. They tried to test Jesus by asking Him for a sign from heaven. He exposed their plan by telling them to interpret the signs of the times as they interpret the signs of nature. Calling them evil and adulterous generation He pointed to Jonah as the only sign for them.

Evil leadership spreads its evil influence
Jesus told the disciples to be alert against the evil influence of the religious system. They are often politically motivated and not spiritually moved. Those who follow Jesus should keep away from the religious system that would enslave them.

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