³⁸Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”
³⁹But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; ⁴⁰for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
⁴¹The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
⁴²The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.
We read God’s Good News. It’s wonderful to read.
But also full of fire, from which you might want to run as fast as possible.
Jesus is here talking to pious men.
And that’s what makes this conversation so close to us.
Scribes and Pharisees want to judge the work of Jesus.
They come to Him and ask for a sign, for a legitimacy from above, through which they can judge whether He really comes from God.
They have seen his miracles of healing, but they do not suffice for them.
They want a sign that is obvious, a sign that only the Messiah can do.
Jesus’ answer is clear.
Also in the way He addresses these people: “A wicked and adulterous generation demands a sign…”
Jesus’ answer is impersonal.
Jesus no longer talks to them, but about them.
And what He says is full of menace: they will receive the sign of Jonah.
- For three days and three nights Jonah was inside the fish, then he went to Nineveh to preach (Jonah 1:17-3:42).
- The same time, Jesus will be in the tomb and return from it. A greater miracle than the miracle of Jonah.
But what a difference between Jerusalem and Nineveh!
▪︎ Nineveh came under Jonah’s preaching and repented (Jonah 3:4-10).
▪︎ Jerusalem has seen much greater things, but has not repented.
Therefore the inhabitants of Jerusalem will be condemned by the inhabitants of Nineveh.
- Gentiles have been impressed by what God did in people. Think also of the heathen queen of Sheba, who heard of Solomon’s wisdom and sought him out (1 Kings 10:1-13). She had discovered something of God’s greatness in Solomon.
- The devout Jewish Pharisees had seen much more of God’s greatness in Jesus, but rejected Him.
- If pious people become proud of themselves and think they have the right understanding, then beware!
- If we come to rely on our great knowledge of the LORD and our understanding of Who He is, let us be on our guard!
▪︎ Our place is not to judge what God can and cannot do.
▪︎ Our place is that we submit to Him.
- That Gentiles are repenting, where do you see that today?
- Ask the Lord to help you accept who He is.
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