As we travel on vacation, trying to get to our new destination, we look for signs along the way so we don’t lose time in getting there. We like signs. Great signage gives us the assurance that we are going where we planned to go. We believe in signs. We rely on signs. But our passage today reveals that asking Jesus for yet another sign to prove who He is reveals only our own unbelief in Him. Be careful asking for a “sign” from Jesus.
Jesus has already performed miracles for all to see. Isn’t that a sign of His power and deity? Jesus draws people from all walks of life to Him. He looks people in eye with mercy, compassion and grace. Isn’t that a sign of His love and character? Jesus teaches with authority like no one has ever heard…not even the Teachers of the Law at that time. Isn’t that a sign of His knowledge?
When the Pharisees ask for yet another sign from him, wanting to see an encore of his tricks actually, Jesus responds….
The Sign of Jonah
38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”
39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 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 something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.
43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
1. Prophet Jonah preached to a wicked nation and they repented.
2. “From the ends of the earth, a Queen of another nation came to Solomon for wisdom and received it.
3. Jesus came to seek and to save lost people. The leaders did not believe. Rather they sneered, mocked, harassed, beat the Savior of the world and eventually nailed Him to a cross to die. Ah, but Jesus defeated death and rose to life giving all who believe blessed hope for eternity with Him. THERE’S your sign.
Jesus reveals to these wicked leaders how it will get worse in the end for all who do not believe. Jesus is the Victor. All who believe in Jesus will be victorious with Him forever. Those who do not believe and follow Him will receive destruction and eventual death.
YES, IT COULD GET WORSE FOR UNBELIEVERS
Jesus revealed the evil hearts of the religious leaders and teachers of The Law. We can connect these verses with Matthew 12:24–29. Satan’s “house” is the body of the person who is possessed by the demon. It appears that the demons are restless and seek bodies in which to reside (Matt. 8:28–31). When the demon left, this man’s life was changed for the better, but his life was still empty. When the demon returned, he brought others with him, and the man’s life ended in tragedy.
The primary application is to the nation of Israel, especially that generation present when Jesus ministered on earth. The nation had been purged of the demon of idolatry, which had plagued them in the Old Testament. But reformation was not enough.
Reformation could cleanse, but it could not fill. The nation should have received the Savior and been filled with spiritual life. Instead, the people rejected Him, and the end was destruction.
There is a personal application. It is not enough to clean house; we must also invite in the right tenant. The Pharisees were proud of their “clean houses,” but their hearts were empty! Mere religion, or reformation, will not save. There must be regeneration, the receiving of Christ into the heart (see Rev. 3:20). We cannot be neutral about Jesus Christ.
“CHOOSE this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). It’s a matter of life or death. Do not be merely impressed with Jesus and ask for signs to prove only our unbelief. Repent and ask Him to take charge of all, every detail, under His leading. Find Jesus. Follow Jesus.
Do we really believe that what we believe is really real?
A STORY IN THE STORY
Even Jesus’ family had trouble with fully believing in Him and His mission from God, the Father…
46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”
48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Even our Lord’s earthly family did not fully understand Him or
His ministry (John 7:1–5). Some of His friends thought He was mad (Mark 3:21). But Jesus did not want the honor that comes from people. While He was not disrespectful toward His physical family, He did emphasize the family of God.
Note His use of the word whoever (Matt. 12:50). This paralleled His beautiful invitation in Matthew 11:28–30, where He encouraged all to trust Him. If the nation would not receive Him, at least individuals within the nation—and among the Gentiles—could trust Him.
Who will be in the promised kingdom?
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
ALL who believe.
I believe. What would you have me do to help others find and follow you today?
In Jesus Name, Amen