The Sign of Jonah: Matthew 12:38-45
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One Reply to “Request for a Sign Refused”
Jesus has just spoken to the Pharisees and any who were listening should have heard the clear message: you are sinning against God! Perhaps some are just ignorant, so they ask Jesus for a sign, “we want to see a sign from you.”
The bookends of Jesus’ response: a wicked generation.
The Jewish leaders were not only off track, they were steaming off in the wrong direction. Generations of drifting away from the serving God led them to this place where Jesus calls them evil, even tells them there is a sin that cannot be forgiven. His disciples must have wondered if there was anything he could to get their attention. Now here they are saying, “show us a sign.” Did they not see the people healed? Were they unaware of that which was going on all around them?
William Lane Craig’s weekly post today (Lesson #430) addressed the problem with trying to convince someone who is close-minded:
Much of his discussion in the post concerns the apologist’s need to be well informed in order to enter such an argument. Jesus is the ultimate apologist and speaks sternly to these leaders in an attempt to wake them up. He uses the story of Jonah, something they must be completely familiar with, to get their attention. Remember that Jonah didn’t want to preach to Ninevah because they might actually repent…that’s the last thing Jonah wanted, but the very thing that God wanted! Jonah’s heart condition is apparently hereditary and these leaders were plagued with the disease.
Someone greater than Jonah, even greater than Solomon, is in their midst, but they are unable to see the most obvious answer. I’m trying to be careful in criticizing these men because I’m probably just as blind to see the problems that are surrounding me. This is why studying the Bible is so important. Such a great gift of this modern age, we have at our disposal the very Word of God. The more we read, study and wrestle with the lessons here, the more we are able to hear the voice of Jesus. We’ll always filter what we hear, but over time, there voice will become more and more distinct.
The rest of the story centers on what we do with the space that’s created when an unclean spirit is removed. If we choose to quit one habit, what takes its place? If I decide not to play golf, what do I do with the time that is displaced? The vacuum will be filled with something–we need to choose wisely lest the warning here is likely to be realized: even more mischief will enter.
And that is how it feels with this current generation, thousands of years after Jesus’ words were spoken. Jesus came at a point in history where immediate course-correction was required. It certainly seems like it’s needed today! The reality is this: it’s our job to provide the correction, we have all the tools we need and we have the Holy Spirit to guide and teach us. Lord, help us to appreciate this reality and get to work!