The sign of Jonah   Leave a comment

Sign of Jonah

Sign of Jonah

One day some teachers of religious law and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign to prove your authority.”But Jesus replied, “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Mat 12:38,39

Most probably, the reason these Pharisees came were not to believe in Jesus. They have seen sufficient miracles previously and they hardened their hearts. They acknowledged the miracles Jesus did and blamed Him for healing on the sabbath day. They also dared to say that Jesus was demon possessed and casted out demons through Satan. Jesus said in Mat 11:21-23 that if Sodom, Tyre and Sidon saw these miracles they would have repented. Jesus had in front of him hardened hearts that would not repent no matter what miracles were done. It was God Himself who preached during all these years on the land of Israel. It was not a mere man like Moses or Isaiah. Jesus preached what was exactly required to bring souls to repentance. But still, people refused to believe in Him and He was rejected.

Jesus would therefore not bend to the request of the Pharisees. With all the knowledge they had, they should have been the first to repent and draw the land of Israel to the Messiah. Jesus already knew their hearts and motives. No, He would not in any way grant this request. Should God almighty prove His authority for men to believe in Him, is not His existence sufficient? Should our Lord do miracles for us to believe in Him? Believe in Him first then hopefully a miracle can follow. Many times we want God to do miracles and show signs in order for us to have faith in Him. Let Him have your heart first because drawing out a list of wants!

In other translation it says “Only an evil, faithless generation would ask for a miracle sign“.  Do you understand that faith precedes your desires? God is not a genie whose tasks is to perform signs and wonders to entertain men. God is not our servant, we are His servants. Jesus healed the sick and demon possessed as a respond to their faith.

What did Jesus say to Martha?

Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” John 11:40

Why do we expect to see God’s glory, miracles and His power with a faithless heart? Believe first, trust Him then if God wills it, He can grant a blessing. God is not indebted to us to prove His authority through miracles.The miracle that would be granted, the essential one, would be His death and resurrection. What does man need more to believe in the Son of God? The sign of Jonah is a powerful sign from God that the crucified and risen Son is God’s appointed Savior.

Therefore, ahead of time, no man shall be able to blame God for his unbelief.

What happened in the wilderness for 40 years? Did not God do miracles in Egypt to prove through signs and wonders His power? Why is it then that God judged the Israelites (Num. 14:11)? It was because of their unbelief. Unbelief is a gross sin. God did miracles to draw these Israelite to Him but they still had an unbelieving heart.

God said:

How long will these people treat me with contempt? Will they never believe me, even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them?not one of these people will ever enter that land… They have all seen my glorious presence and the miraculous signs I performed both in Egypt and in the wilderness, but again and again they have tested me by refusing to listen to my voice.” Num 14:11,22

The whole generation perished in the wilderness (Heb 3:16-19) because of unbelief. These Israelites were following Moses in the wilderness because they ate manna, meat and saw miracles in Egypt. When these miracles were withdrawn, here they were complaining! Why is it then? They followed God because of miracles and not because they personally believed in Him. They blamed Moses for bringing them in the wilderness to perish. This remark clearly showed that they had not the promised land in mind. They were just surviving without any hope. However, Moses, Joshua and Caleb continued to believe in God through tough times even there were no miracles.

But did not Gideon (Judges 6:17) and Hezekiah (2 Kings 20) asked for signs? They did and that these people were commended by God for their faith (Hebrews 11:32, 2 Kings 20:2). It was their faith which made them ask for signs.

In John 6:26-31, the crowd came to Jesus after they were fed by Him. Jesus said:

I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. ”

Do you see the danger of following Jesus because of miracles? Miracles can help catching the attention of unbelievers. However, we should be careful that it is not the basis of our faith in Christ.

The crowd said to Jesus: “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

Once gain we see man’s nature to want to experience before trusting.  Jesus put it clear that what God wants is to “Believe in the one he has sent”. This is the prerequisite.

It seemed they did not understand Jesus’ reply and the people said again:

Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do?After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

God confirmed He was with Moses when He gave bread from heaven to the ancestors. So in order to challenge Jesus authority, the Jews were asking Jesus to show evidence that He was called by God by doing a miracle. Jesus had just given them bread and fish and its astonishing why the Jews asked for a new sign.

Jesus then said that He is the bread of life that would be able to satisfy them.

The people of Nineveh will stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here—but you refuse to repent.” Mat 12:41

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Posted February 6, 2014 by Cedric in Theology

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