Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Matthew 12:38-42 The Sign of Jonah

A sign is an earthly event that points to a heavenly reality. In this case, the Pharisees wanted a sign from Jesus to have him confirm to them that he was really the Messiah. In most cases signs are granted to those who believe and need a confirmation, but rarely is a sign granted to skeptics (evil and adulterous generation) so that they might believe. The sign that Jesus recalls for them is the sign of Jonah who spent three days and three nights in the belly of a great fish as a sign of the soon to come death and resurrection of the Son of Man. The Ninevites would condemn the Pharisees because they repented at Jonah’s preaching. And Jesus is greater than Jonah!

Jesus brings up another character who will condemn the Pharisees at the judgment: the queen of the South. “She came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon.” And Jesus assures them that something greater than Solomon is before them. The Pharisees reluctance to accept Jesus as Messiah despite all the signs he performed before their own eyes is a sign of their own unbelief. Jesus was not about to cater to their unbelief by performing special signs for them. He expected them to perceive the signs already given. He expected them to respond like the Ninevites and like the queen of the South.

Many today, like the Pharisees, are still asking for a sign from God to know if they should give up their ways and follow Jesus. Many still like to cut deals with God: “If you grant me this one thing, I will follow you.” The signs are already before us and the deal has already been cut in Jesus Christ our Lord. To follow Jesus is to be able to read the signs of the times and respond with repentance and pursuit of his wisdom.

Father, grant me the sensitivity to see the signs of the times and to respond appropriately with a heart of repentance and pursuit of your wisdom. Take away my unbelief and fill be with trust and obedience.

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