Although I have been a Christian for over thirty years, I sometimes question whether Jesus is who he said he is. The evil and pain I see around me cause me to long for a sign that Jesus really is God, and that he is at work in the world. I admit this hesitantly, because while these doubts are part of the human condition, they also reveal my lack of faith. In today’s passage, Jesus had strong words for those whose doubt went beyond genuine wonder and instead demanded a sign.
- What is the one thing—if Jesus would do it—that would make you believe without a doubt that he is God?
READ THE WORD: LUKE 11:29-32 (ESV)
29 When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- What were the crowds seeking from Jesus (see also Luke 11:15)? What did Jesus say would be given to them? What was the sign of Jonah (vs. 32)?
- What did the queen of the South do (vs. 31)? (For more on Sheba, the queen of the South, see 1 Kings 10). Whom did Jonah preach to and what was their response (vs. 32)? By comparison, what did the Jewish listeners fail to do?
- The queen of the South and the people of Nineveh were Gentiles. How did this increase the severity of the message for the Jewish audience?
- What is one thing you can do today to tangibly express faith in Jesus?
RESPOND TO GOD
Most of Jesus’ generation failed to understand who he was, even though he walked among them as God in the flesh. Before we judge them too harshly, remember that they had only partial understanding. But we have the fullness of the sign of Jonah: just as he was three days in the whale, so Jesus was three days in the earth, and then resurrected to life. Therefore, we can heed this sign with confidence, having faith that Jesus is the one who conquered death and redeems us to life.
- Thank God that he has given us his Word, so that we can know who Jesus is.
- Ask God to show you where you still need to repent; ask him to give you the faith to believe in him wholeheartedly.