This is the Lent 2015 series. We’re reading through Luke, from Jesus conquering temptation in the desert to the Passion, His crucifixion and resurrection.
The Sign of Jonah (Luke 11:29-32)
As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now something greater than Solomon is here. 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. (Luke 11:29-32)
Have you ever waited for a sign from God? People were waiting for a sign, in Luke 11, that Christ was the Messiah. I would have thought the raising of the dead, loaves and fishes, and casting out demons might have served as such a sign, but human nature being what it is, even those who witnessed these miracles firsthand were waiting for even greater signs. Jesus tells them that no sign will be given to the generation except the sign of Jonah. They will either get it, or they won’t.
Jonah was zipping along living his life and God popped in and told him to go to Ninevah. NINEVAH!? Yikes. No way, Jose. Jonah takes off and hightails it the other way. He literally jumps ship. While on the ship a huge storm, the result of Jonah’s disobedience, threatens the ship and all on it. Jonah is tossed overboard and picked up by a whale in which he spends some time reflecting on his choices. After his perspective is adjusted, he prays some “whale-belly” prayers and God delivers Jonah to get on to Ninevah and deliver the message. Even after all that Jonah struggles with selfishness and selfishness; but through it all God used Jonah. God uses everyone, right where we are, for His purpose. Read more about Jonah here.
Matthew Henry explains, ” Jonah being cast into the sea, and lying there three days, and then coming up alive and preaching repentance to the Ninevites, was a sign to them, upon which they turned from their evil way, so shall the death and resurrection of Christ, and the preaching of his gospel immediately after to the Gentile world, be the last warning to the Jewish nation. If they be provoked to a holy jealousy by this, well and good; but, if this do not work upon them, let them look for nothing but utter ruin: The Son of Man shall be a sign to this generation (Luke 11:30), a sign speaking to them, though a sign spoken against by them.
The Queen of the South mentioned in this verse is the Queen of Sheba, she was bold, gracious, and wise, and the subject of a new book by Liz Curtis Higgs. The Queen of Sheba was superior to the generation Jesus wrestled with in that she journeyed some 1,200 miles to hear and see Solomon, yet a greater than Solomon was in their midst and they would not listen to His God-given truths.
The Lamp of the Body
What sign does God expect from us to witness our belief in Him? Jesus explains that in Luke 11:33-36: see things clearly, aim at the truth, let your soul be filled with the light leaving no room for darkness, and know God so you’ll always walk in the Light.
“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.”
Jesus, come and break my fear
Wake my heart and take my tears
Find your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide. -Lyrics from The Hurt & The Healer