Luke 11:29-32 (NIV) 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. 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 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. 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.”
Many of the religious leaders pestered Jesus for a miraculous sign that would prove that He had come from God. The signs that He was already doing were surprisingly not good enough for these people, signs that included healing the sick, casting out demons, feeding multitudes with miraculously produced food, and even raising the dead! They would not accept any of those as adequate proof. Instead, they demanded that Jesus do a miracle of their own choosing; that Jesus, and by extension God, jump to their tune before they would be willing to believe.
Of course, Jesus was not willing to fit Himself into their agenda to try to win their approval, because He knew that He would not get it, even if He did comply with their request. Instead, He promised them an amazing miracle of God’s choosing that He called the sign of Jonah. Jesus more clearly defines this sign in Matthew 13;40: just as Jonah was in the belly of a great fish, disgorged alive on the third day, so He would be placed in a tomb in the belly of the earth, and come forth alive on the third day.
But there was more. Just as Jonah had come as a sign to the Ninevites, proclaiming God’s doom on them unless they repented, his miraculous deliverance from death proving the validity of his credentials, so Jesus was a sign to those in power in Jerusalem, proclaiming God’s doom on them unless they repented, and His miraculous resurrection from the dead would prove His credentials to make such a proclamation.
The Ninevites had repented in sackcloth at the preaching of Jonah and saved themselves and their city from being utterly destroyed by God’s wrath. But Jesus knew that these leaders would not repent, and that ultimately they, their city, and their temple would be totally destroyed (Luke 21:6). And, of course, it all happened exactly as He foretold.
Jesus also condemned the leaders of the Jews for standing far off and building walls between themselves and Him. The queen of Sheba had come seeking Solomon for his amazing wisdom. But these leaders refused to acknowledge that Jesus had even greater wisdom than Solomon ever dreamed of having, even though it was something that He demonstrated to them on a regular basis.
Father, only those with open eyes can see who Jesus truly is. Only those with open eyes can see that the things that He did were signs of His credentials directly from You. Even today so many are satisfied with debating Jesus from their lofty seats in academia, but the whole time are totally blind to who He truly was and is, with eyes that cannot see Your truth. Thank You, Lord, for opening my eyes, so that I can see. Amen.