Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Give Us A Sign
Luke 11:29 When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be to this generation. 31 The queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here! 32 The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here!
The crowds had come wanting a sign and expecting Jesus to perform for them. He would never succumb to the temptation to turn the power of God into some type of magic trick. As the people crushed in upon him he spoke to them regarding a sign. They would never receive the type of sign that they desired because they were looking for the wrong thing. Jesus had already brought them all the sign that they needed and they hadn’t responded. The comparison is to Jonah and the city of Ninevah, for even the people of Ninevah had responded to the words of Jonah. The Israelites had received more than Jonah, and yet they had rejected the truth that they had been told.
The queen of the South and the people of Ninevah had accepted the pronouncements that they had heard. They had not originally been included in God’s holy people — and yet, the signs were enough to help them repent and follow in the way of truth. The Israelites should have been living as God’s holy people and have recognized the Messiah. Jesus was greater than Jonah and yet the people failed to respond. There would be no other sign for they had failed to recognize the majesty of the one who stood before them. Their lack of faith would be condemned by the faith of the Gentiles. And if the very presence of the Messiah were not enough, he would rise again in three days, new life in Jesus, just as Jonah was resurrected from the belly of the fish.
It’s easy to condemn the Israelites and yet, I often wonder whether I would have been in the crowd clamoring for a sign. Over and over again the Messiah reveals his faithfulness to God’s people and yet, we want just another sign. I know there have been times when this has been true in my own life.
Jesus encouraged the people to reflect upon that which they had already experienced. They didn’t need another sign because what they had already experienced was miraculous. The place of testimony in the life of the church is significant for it provides space for us to recount the deeds of Christ in our lives. It’s an opportunity to affirm the signs which we have already experienced.
When we fail to praise God and take stock of God’s intervention in our life we may find ourselves begging for another sign. When seeking for another sign we may need to stop and recognize that we have focused our attention in the wrong direction. When our eyes are on God, then we engage in praise and worship for the things that God has done in our lives. We begin to seek signs when we take our eyes off of Jesus. Just as Peter found himself drowning in the water, we will begin to drown in our circumstances because we are looking down for a sign. Jesus is the sign. He is the answer which has already been given and we need no other. His resurrection power is provided for us in the time of our deepest need. Look no further for “something greater than Jonah is here!”
Lord, thank you for the sign that you have already provided. Amen.