Matthew 16:1

The Pharisees and Sadducees (oi Parisaioi kai Saddoukaioi). The first time that we have this combination of the two parties who disliked each other exceedingly. Hate makes strange bedfellows. They hated Jesus more than they did each other. Their hostility has not decreased during the absence of Jesus, but rather increased. Tempting him (peirazonte). Their motive was bad. A sign from heaven (shmeion ek tou ouranou). The scribes and Pharisees had already asked for a sign ( Matthew 12:38 ). Now this new combination adds "from heaven." What did they have in mind? They may not have had any definite idea to embarrass Jesus. The Jewish apocalypses did speak of spectacular displays of power by the Son of Man (the Messiah). The devil had suggested that Jesus let the people see him drop down from the pinnacle of the temple and the people expected the Messiah to come from an unknown source ( John 7:27 ) who would do great signs ( John 7:31 ). Chrysostom (Hom. liii.) suggests stopping the course of the sun, bridling the moon, a clap of thunder.