Mark 8:11-13 NRSVue
11The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, asking him for a sign from heaven, to test him. 12And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13And he left them, and getting into the boat again he went across to the other side.
“Copyright © 2021 National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.”
Some thoughts on this scripture
There are times, Lord, when I too look for something abnormal to proclaim your presence. In fact it is all around me. There are signs enough of you in my every day: / One asked a sign from God; and day by day The sun arose in pearl; in scarlet set Each night the stars appeared in bright array Each morn the thirsty grass with dew was wet ; The corn failed not its harvest, nor the vine -- And yet he saw no sign!/
Jesus asks for faith in him and in his words, not in signs and miracles. The sign given in prayer is simply that we pray; not much may happen, but it is our time, our love given to God. Our works for God are in action time. Prayer is time for the heart. God is always at work growing our heart so that it is more like the heart of his Son.
Prayer is a time of faith. Often we get no signs from God of anything more than the fruit of time spent with God. Feelings are not always high in prayer, but a grace of growth in faith and love is always given in prayer. Jesus is not always the man of big signs but is the one of constant and gentle love, given wholly in the sign of his death.
The Pharisees approach Jesus demanding some authenticating sign from God, some spectacular public display, to test whether he is the true Messiah. But, with a sigh that comes straight from the heart, Jesus says, "Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation." Today, people often look for miraculous signs such as moving statues, revolutions of the sun, or some other spectacular display of God's power to strengthen their faith. The only sign that Jesus gives his own life, death, and resurrection.