What Was Jesus Warning to the Disciples Matthew 12 38 42?

In Matthew 12:38-42, Jesus warned his disciples about the consequences of seeking signs and wonders as a way of strengthening their faith. This passage is a reminder that true faith should not depend on physical evidence but rather on trust in God’s promises and teachings.

The Context of Jesus’ Warning

Before we dive into Jesus’ warning, it is important to understand the context in which it was given. In this passage, some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus and asked him for a sign to prove that he was the Messiah. They were looking for some kind of miraculous demonstration from him, even though he had already performed many miracles in their presence.

Jesus refused to give them a sign, calling them “a wicked and adulterous generation” (Matthew 12:39). He went on to say that no sign would be given except for the sign of Jonah, who spent three days in the belly of a fish before being spit out alive.

The Significance of Jonah

The story of Jonah is significant because it foreshadows Jesus’ death and resurrection. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days before being brought back to life, so too would Jesus spend three days in the tomb before rising again.

By referencing Jonah, Jesus was telling his audience that his death and resurrection would be the ultimate sign that he was indeed the Messiah. He didn’t need to perform any more miracles or provide any additional evidence beyond what had already been done.

The Danger of Seeking Signs

After explaining why he wouldn’t give them a sign other than the one already promised, Jesus went on to warn his disciples about seeking signs as a way of strengthening their faith.

He said: “The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here” (Matthew 12:41).

Jesus was essentially telling his disciples that seeking signs and wonders was a sign of weak faith. The people of Nineveh, who repented at the preaching of Jonah without any miraculous signs, had stronger faith than those who demanded signs from Jesus.


In conclusion, Jesus’ warning to his disciples in Matthew 12:38-42 was a reminder that true faith should not depend on physical evidence or miraculous demonstrations. Instead, we should trust in God’s promises and teachings, just as the people of Nineveh did when they repented at the preaching of Jonah.

Let us all strive to have strong faith that does not waver based on our circumstances or the lack of visible signs. For as Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).