Saturday, January 15, 2022
38 Later a few religion scholars and Pharisees cornered him. “Teacher, we want to see your credentials. Give us some hard evidence that God is in this. How about a miracle?”
39-40 Jesus said, “You’re looking for proof, but you’re looking for the wrong kind. All you want is something to titillate your curiosity, satisfy your lust for miracles. The only proof you’re going to get is what looks like the absence of proof: Jonah-evidence. Like Jonah, three days and nights in the fish’s belly, the Son of Man will be gone three days and nights in a deep grave.
41-42 “On Judgment Day, the Ninevites will stand up and give evidence that will condemn this generation, because when Jonah preached to them they changed their lives. A far greater preacher than Jonah is here, and you squabble about ‘proofs.’ On Judgment Day, the Queen of Sheba will come forward and bring evidence that will condemn this generation, because she traveled from a far corner of the earth to listen to wise Solomon. Wisdom far greater than Solomon’s is right in front of you, and you quibble over ‘evidence.’
-Matthew 12:38-42 The Message
The Desire for Signs
Verse 38: Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”
Verse 39: But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves a sign; so no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet;
Verse 40: for just as Jonah was in the stomach of the sea monster for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights
Verses 38-40 studies: The Pharisees were asking for another miraculous sign, but they were not looking to know Jesus. Jesus already knew that they saw enough miracles and proof to convince them that he was the Messiah. But the Pharisees wouldn’t open their hearts. They decided they weren’t going to believe him, and more miracles wouldn’t change that.
People have said, “If I could see a miracle, I would believe in God.” Jesus’ response to the Pharisees applies to us. The evidence we have to believe Jesus is the Messiah is Jesus’ birth, death, resurrection, ascension, and centuries of his work in believers around the world. We shouldn’t look for additional evidence or miracles, let us accept what God has already given and move on. He may use your life as evidence to reach another person.
Verse 41: The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
Verses 39-41 studies: Jonah was a prophet sent to the Assyrian city of Nineveh (see the book of Jonah for more). Assyria was a cruel, warlike nation, Jonah tried to run away from his assignment and ended up in the belly of a huge fish. When he did get out, he grudgingly went to the Nineveh, preached God’s message, and saw the city repent. Jesus is clearly saying that his resurrection will prove he is the Messiah. Three days after his death, Jesus will come back to life, just as Jonah will come back to life, just as Jonah was given a new chance of life after three days in the fish.
Verse 42: The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.
Verses 41-42 studies: In Jonah’s day, Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian empire, and it was as powerful as it was evil (Jonah 1:2). The whole city repented at Jonah’s preaching. The Queen of the South aka Queen of Sheba traveled far to see Solomon, the king of Israel and learned about his great wisdom (1 Kings 10:1-10). The Gentiles knew the truth about God when it was presented to them, unlike the religious leaders who ignored the truth even though it stared at them right in the face. Have you responded to the evidence and truth that you have?
Matthew 16:1; Mark 8:11, 12; Luke 11:16; John 2:18; 6:30; 1 Corinthians 1:22
Luke 11:29-32; Matthew 16:4
Jonah 1:17; Matthew 8:20; Matthew 16:21
Jonah 1:2; Jonah 3:5; Matthew 12:6, 42
1 Kings 10:1; 2 Chronicles 9:1; Matthew 12:6, 41
Father, what more do anybody need to believe in you? Indeed, most people won’t believe in you unless they see miracles. The problem is, they see miracles, but they don’t see them in front of them. I pray that as we teach others, they think back on miracles they have seen and realize it is your work. In Jesus’ name. Amen.