One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.
He replied, "You know the saying, 'Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.' You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don't know how to interpret the signs of the times! Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign, but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah." Then Jesus left them and went away.
— Matthew 16:1-4 NLT
Hatred and spiritual blindness can make for strange "bedfellows." The Pharisees and Sadducees looked at each other with disdain. Their alliance against Jesus is proof of their fear and hatred towards him and his work. Not able to defeat him at their religious games, finding him surrounded by people who thought him interesting and engaging, and embarrassed by his ridicule of their hypocrisy, they hung around to test him — while still plotting to kill him (Matthew 12:14). Like Satan had done earlier (Matthew 4:1), they are there for one purpose: to try to get him to stumble and fall.
Jesus refuses, however, to play their games. He confronts their blindness and then leaves. He will not be ruled by the opinion of the hypocritical religious elite. He will not be tamed by them. He will not be deterred by opponents of any kind. He is here for a purpose, and he will fulfill it.
Father, thank you for Jesus' example of turning away from senseless arguments. His withdrawal is such a powerful message to me. Too often I want to defend myself and my point of view instead of just recognizing that hard hearts must soften before they can be reached. Please give me more wisdom so I know when to stay and defend and when to graciously excuse myself and move on. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.