Luke 11:29 “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign,<sup class="crossreference" value="(Q)”> but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.”

     At the time that Jesus said this, He had been accused of driving out demons by Beelzebub.  And the Pharisees were testing Him, asking for Him to give them a sign from Heaven.  Jesus explains; “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.” (Matthew 12:40 )  His death and resurrection was (and is) to be the sign of who He really was.  The Forerunner Commentary states: “The ‘sign of Jonah’ is the only sign that Christ specifically gives to prove that He was the Messiah.”

     Jesus went on to say that the telling mark of those who have a heart for Him was how they received His message; “The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgement with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now something greater than Jonah is here.” (Luke 11:32)  A few verses before Jesus points to this crucial point; “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (v. 28)  Signs and miracles are awe inspiring but beside the point.  The Word itself carries the power to reach and save those who are open to it.   God Himself affirmed Jesus and His message; “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” (Luke 9:35)

     Yes, we also live in a wicked generation.  Many seek signs. Many seek miracles.  Many want proof.  Yet, when a sign is placed before them they don’t see it.  Yet, when they see a miracle, they don’t believe it.  Yet, when proof is laid out, point by point, line by line they deny it.  Like the rich man suffering in hell who called out to Abraham in heaven to send Lazarus to warn his brothers of their fate, many people today won’t be convinced by any kind of miracle or sign (Luke 16:19-31).  Rather they explain them away.  Abraham’s reply to the rich man tormented in hell applies today; “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”  (Luke 16:31)

     It is a person’s response to His message – the Gospel of Jesus Christ – that counts!  All else follows.  Paul explained this to the Galatians who were falling away from this Gospel by strange teaching of the Gnostics;  “So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?”  (Galatians 3:5)  The Forerunner commentary points out; “The Galatians’ problem was that they thought their personal righteousness was sufficient—and if that was the case, then truly there was no need for Christ to die. . . . They had more faith in themselves, in their own works, to save them than they had in Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection, and intercession!”

     There is no shortage of self-righteous clerics who would claim signs and wonders first and for themselves in order to beguile their sheep into following them.  It is Jesus we must follow! Jesus will deal with them as they deserve; “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:22,23)

     The sign of Jonah is not seen with eyes looking for a flashy show.  It is seen in the change of behavior brought about because of the change in a person’s heart as the message falls upon their ear.  There are those who won’t believe because they believe in everything else but His message.  There are those won’t believe because they believe in their own righteousness.  There are those who won’t believe because they haven’t yet heard – their heart isn’t ready yet.  Our mission is His mission – to go and find the lost where ever they may be.  If they have a heart for His message they will repent and be saved;  “. . . for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:10)

     Jesus assures us:  “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”  (John 5:24) And for the many who are having their hearts prepared for His message; “Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” (John 5:25)  Every Born Again Christian is a living miracle – a sign of Jonah.  A dead man made alive by the Word – as sure as day follows night!

     Praise the Lord