The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.
He [Jesus] replied,… “You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.” (Matthew 16:1-2a, 3b NIV)
William Shakespeare wrote “All the world’s a stage,” (As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII), “and all the men and women merely players.” Thus begins Shakespeare’s oft-quoted monologue “The Seven Ages of Man”.
In the Gospels, the Pharisees and Sadducees acted out their opposition to Jesus to the end. Though they had long before settled on who he was, they came to test Christ by asking for a sign from heaven.
These religious leaders were hypocrites. They were players wearing masks. They posed as sincere inquirers, yet they had sinister motives. They were confident they could lure Jesus into a verbal trap, discrediting him among the people while casting him as a rebel to Roman authorities.
They were wrong. Were they not so into their role, the Pharisees and Sadducees might have become curious, observed the signs, then followed Jesus. From the sky’s appearance they could predict the weather, but the knowledge of their true Messiah alluded them.
Information is rapidly increasing (Daniel 12:4), yet awareness of the signs continues to escape the so-called wise. The scroll revealing last day’s events was sealed in the time of Daniel (12:9). God opened it to our view through the Apostle John. Having Scripture, such as Revelation, makes it obvious we are in the last days. So why then are so many acting oblivious? Is it an act?
During our moment on stage, our words and their effect indicate the part we play. John the Baptist’s and Jesus’ message was “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near” (Matthew 3:2, 4:17). Similar lines were presented to Christ’s disciples (Luke 10:9). They are ours, also, to memorize and recite.
“Jesus is coming soon!” is not a scare tactic; it’s Bible! (cf. Revelation 1:3, 22:10, 12, 20)
Are we calling men and women to repentance? Are we accepting the tests of ridicule, rejection, persecution and threats coming from fellow actors playing the adversary? Like Noah, are we true to our script as a preacher of righteousness? (2 Peter 2:5)
Very soon the spotlight will fade; we’ll exit the stage. Was ours an act? If so, how well did we do? Only the Playwright’s judgment will count.