Red Skies

Growing up I had the opportunity to do some sailing. My dad had a love for sailing and many of our family vacations involved sailing for a week at a time. I have so many memories of being in a very small space with all 5 of us living on a 30 foot sailboat. One memory that popped to mind when I read through my assigned text for today was what my Dad would say every night as the sun was setting on the water…

“Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning.”

This is a saying that is actually rooted in today’s reading, Matthew 16:1-12. Jesus actually references the above saying…

He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning,’Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
Matthew 16:2-3

The people of Jesus’s day knew how to read the skies, they believed that the color of the sky would predict the weather. But Jesus points out here that even though they believed in the color of the sky predicting the weather, they couldn’t read the signs of the times.

The Pharisees and Sadducees asked Jesus for a sign from heaven. Jesus had been performing miracles and signs for days. He had just fed thousands of people with a few loaves of bread and a few fish. Even if the Pharisees and Sadducees were not present to witness Jesus’ miracles, surely they had heard of them. They were “testing” Jesus. He calls them “hypocrites” as they can discern the sky and predict the weather, but they cannot observe the signs of the times.

A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.
Matthew 16:4

What does it mean to discern the signs of the times? Do we notice what is going on around us? Do we see people turning to Jesus or drifting away? Jesus tells them that they will only be given the sign of Jonah. Jesus saw Jonah as a symbol of the Messiah whom He himself claimed to be. In Matthew 12:38-40 he explains how Jonah is a sign.

He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Matthew 12:38-40

Jesus is referring to his coming death and resurrection. Are we like the Pharisees and Sadducees and putting Jesus to the test? Or do we believe what He says and the miracles He performed? He gives us the choice. We have a choice to follow Him and survive the storms of life, because we know that the red sky in the morning may bring severe storms.  Jesus rose from the dead after 3 days so that we may have life and have it abundantly.