27. Doubters seek a sign
CERTAIN of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered Jesus, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he said unto them,
An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.
The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
Scripture: Matthew 12:38-42
Meditation 1 of 2:
What would Jesus say about our generation? Jesus gave a rather stern warning to his generation when they demanded a sign from him. It was characteristic of the Jews that they demanded “signs” from God’s messengers to authenticate their claims. Jesus faulted them for one thing: spiritual adultery. The image of adultery was often used in the scriptures for describing apostasy or infidelity towards God. When the religious leaders pressed Jesus to give proof for his claims he says in so many words that he is God’s sign and that they need no further evidence from heaven than his own person. The Ninevites recognized God’s warning when Jonah spoke to them, and they repented. And the Queen of Sheba recognized God’s wisdom in Solomon. Jonah was God’s sign and his message was the message of God for the people of Nineveh. Unfortunately the religious leaders were not content to accept the signs right before their eyes. They had rejected the message of John the Baptist and now they reject Jesus as God’s Anointed One (Messiah) and they fail to heed his message. Simeon had prophesied at Jesus’ birth that he was “destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that inner thoughts of many will be revealed” (Luke 2:34- 35). Jesus confirmed his message with many miracles in preparation for the greatest sign of all – his resurrection on the third day. The Lord Jesus through the gift of his Holy Spirit offers us freedom from sin and wisdom for our lives, if we listen to him. Do you thirst for Godly wisdom? James says that the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity (James 3:17). A double-minded person cannot receive this kind of wisdom. The single of mind desire one thing alone– that which is good and ordered according to God’s wise plan. Ask the Lord to renew your mind and to increase your thirst for his wisdom.
“Lord, give me your wisdom and increase my love for your ways. Help me to resist temptation and all wilfulness that I may wholly desire to do what is pleasing to you.”
Scripture: Matthew 12:43-45
Meditation 2 of 2:
What is the point of Jesus’ grim story about a vacant house being occupied by some evil force? If you knew that someone had a life-threatening disease, would you let that person into your house without proper protection? Sin and evil are like deadly viruses. They are especially contagious when we get close to them and allow them to infect us. Jesus warned his followers about leaving their homes and lives unprotected from destructive and evil forces. It’s not enough, however, to simply” clean house” by banishing evil thoughts and breaking with bad habits . Something has to take their place to fill the void that has been created.
God wants to fill the void in our lives with himself and with the good things he provides for our well-being. Augustine of Hippo said that our lives have a God-shaped void which only God can fill satisfactorily. If we attempt to leave it vacant or to fill it with something else, we will be worse in the end. What do you fill the void in your life with? Jesus makes it clear that there are no neutral parties. We are either for Jesus or against him, for the kingdom of God or against it. There are two kingdoms in opposition to one another— the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness under the rule of Satan. If we disobey God’s word, we open the door to the power of sin and Satan. If we want to live in freedom from sin and Satan, then our house must be occupied by Jesus where he is enthroned as Lord and Savior. Do you know the peace and security of a life submitted to God and his word?
“Lord, be the ruler of my heart and the master of my home. May there be nothing in my life that is not under your lordship.”