7667 - Sign of Jonah

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Today let’s consider a portion of God’s word together. In Luke 11:29-32 Jesus warns again about the evil of unbelief.

These verses say:

Luke 11:29 As the crowds increased, Jesus said, "This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.

Luke 11:30 For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.

Luke 11:31 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here.

Luke 11:32 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 one greater than Jonah is here.

In this chapter Jesus is teaching about God’s truth, but among the Jewish people he was experiencing hostile attitudes. Jewish tradition was all-consuming in the minds of many Jewish people. It wasn’t that they obeyed the traditions, but they subscribed to them. Therefore, when they heard truth that contradicted their established traditional religious customs, then they rejected what they heard.

Another defensive maneuver was to cast doubt and derision on the speaker. Earlier, one in the audience asked for a sign from heaven. This is a blatant expression of unbelief. For the past two years of ministry Jesus had performed many, many miraculous acts such as healings and raising the dead. To ask for another is a loud rejection of what has already been demonstrated.

That’s why he openly called them a wicked generation.

He did tell the people that He would give them one sign; and that would be the sign of Jonah.

Jonah, a Jew, had been sent to the Gentiles of Nineveh. He proclaimed, “Repent or perish.” Nineveh was the capital of the wicked Assyrian Empire.
Jonah’s message was heeded by the king and all the people. They humbled themselves and repented and God granted them mercy.

By contrast, when Jesus came to his own people, the Jews, they refused to accept him, even though he was the Messiah whom they had long been seeking.

The sign of Jonah also pointed to the death & resurrection of Jesus, just as Jonah, in running from God’s control, experienced being swallowed by a huge fish and spending three days in its belly before being cast up on the beach –– thus figuratively being brought back to life. Three days after his crucifixion Jesus would be resurrected, thus miraculously proving he was the Son of God.

Would the people of Israel repent as had the Ninevites?

Then Jesus gave two examples of Gentile people who had recognized true wisdom when it was presented to them.

First, Jesus spoke of the Queen of the South, who journeyed from her kingdom of Sheba to get an audience with King Solomon. What she saw and what she heard from Solomon’s wisdom left her in awe.

Jesus also referred to the men of Nineveh, as mentioned above, as people who would stand at the judgment as witnesses.

These Gentile people, The Queen of Sheba, and the men of Nineveh, who responded to the truth of God in their days, will rise as witnesses at the eternal judgment, and will condemn the generation of Jesus’ day, who refused to respond to the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

Oh friend, there will be no valid excuse for any generation at the judgment for turning a deaf ear to the Good News message. The truth of God has been declared by nature and by the millions of voices, which have proclaimed the gospel in the darkened world.

Consider in your own life –– have you responded to the grace gift of Jesus, or are you stubbornly refusing. To the rebel, the words of Jesus will echo throughout eternity (John 5:40), “you refuse to come to me to have life.”