29 When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, "This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah became a sign to the men of Nineveh, so will the Son of man be to this generation. 31 The queen of the South will arise 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 arise 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.
Meditation: Do you pay attention to warning signs? Many
fatalities could be avoided if people took the warning signs
seriously. When the religious leaders demanded a sign from Jesus,
he gave them a warning to avert spiritual disaster. It was
characteristic of the Jews that they demanded "signs" from God's
messengers to authenticate their claims. 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 people of Nineveh were saved because they accepted the sign and message of Jonah
The Ninevites recognized God's warning when Jonah spoke to them, and they repented (Jonah 3:1-10). And the Queen of Sheba recognized God's wisdom in Solomon (1 Kings 10:1-10). 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.
Jesus' death and resurrection brings us new ever lasting life
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). Just as Jonah spent 3 days in the belly of the whale before he delivered the Ninevites from death and destruction, Jesus likewise spent 3 days in the tomb before rising again to save us from sin and death and bring us new life. Jesus confirmed his message of good news and deliverance with many miracles in preparation for the greatest sign of all - his resurrection on the third day.
The Lord Jesus came to set us free from slavery to sin and hurtful desires. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit he pours his love into our hearts that we may understand his will for our lives and walk in his way of holiness (Romans 5:5). God searches our hearts, not to condemn us, but to show us where we need his saving grace and help. He calls us to seek him with true repentance, humility, and the honesty to see our sins for what they really are - a rejection of his love and will for our lives.
Listen to God's word of wisdom and you will find true life and everlasting joy
God will transform us if we listen to his word and allow his Holy Spirit to work in our lives. Ask the Lord to renew your mind and to increase your thirst for his 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 heart desire one thing alone - God's pleasure. God wants us to delight in him and to know the freedom of his truth and love. Do you thirst for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14)?
1 O sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory.
2 The LORD has made known his victory, he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
4 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: The sign of Jonah, by an anonymous early author from the Greek church
"'What is the sign of Jonah? The stumbling block of the cross. So
it is not the disputers of knowledge who will be saved but those
who believe true teaching. For the cross of Christ is indeed a
stumbling block to those who dispute knowledge but salvation to
those who believe. Paul testifies to this: 'But we, for our part,
preach the crucified Christ - to the Jews indeed a stumbling block
and to the Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are called, both
Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God'
(1 Corinthians 1:23-24). Why do the Jews seek signs and the Greeks
seek wisdom? God pointed to the sign of the stumbling block of the
cross to both the Jews and the Greeks. Thus those who wish to find
Christ not through faith but through wisdom will perish on the
stumbling block of foolishness. Those who wish to know the Son of
God not through faith but through a demonstration of signs will
remain trapped in their disbelief, falling on the stumbling block
of his death. It is no small wonder that the Jews, considering the
death of Christ, thought he was merely a man, when even Christians
- as they purport to be but really are not - because of his death
are reluctant to declare the only begotten, the crucified, as
incomparable majesty." (excerpt from INCOMPLETE
WORK ON MATTHEW, HOMILY 30, the Greek fathers).