Dark Signs of the Times

Luke 11: 29-32
Jon 3:1-10 / Psa 51

This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah.
(Luke 11:29)

What better sign is there to see
As proof of God’s great love for me
Than His Son’s dying on the cross
That this one sheep may not be lost.

As the crowds were increasing, Jesus began to say, “This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. The Queen of the South will rise up with the men of this generation at the judgment and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. (Luke 11: 29-32)


Jesus knew that His detractors weren’t asking for a sign because they needed proof in order to believe; it was merely their ploy to put him to the test, and find something with which they could use against Him. No sign from heaven could ever turn their hearts to repentance.

It was so sad and ironic that Jonah, God’s reluctant prophet, could turn the pagan Ninevites to repentance even without a sign from heaven. All he did was take a single day’s walk across the great city, proclaiming, “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed” (Jon.3:4), and the people there believed and repented. And yet the wisdom of God’s Son and the miracles that He performed could not convince His own people. The Queen of Sheba, another pagan who visited King Solomon, acknowledged his wisdom as coming from the One True God (1 Kings 10) and believed just like the residents of Nineveh. And yet the Jews who had witnessed the wonders performed by Jesus in their midst persisted in resisting His claim to divinity.

Those who turn from their worldly ways because of some ‘miraculous sign’ are usually the ones who are not steadfast in their belief. Their flickering kind of faith needs a regular dose of the supernatural or the fanciful (like the “dancing sun” or shower of rose petals from nowhere) to keep it burning. A strong faith is not dependent on supernatural signs. It is sustained by acts of piety, perseverance and prayer, especially in times of crisis or the so-called “dryness of spirit”. In fact it is when God doesn’t seem to answer our prayers that our faith in Him will be fortified.

What do you think Jesus would say about our present generation? Now that we are all struggling in the quagmire of a global economic meltdown, what have we to show for putting our faith in the world’s economic powers and their wealth? What further sign do we need to convince us that a disastrous reckoning for their recklessness and profligacy now awaits them in the not-so-distant future? We do not need a sign from heaven. The signs of impending doom are already at the doorstep as we brace for the reality of another Great Depression.

Lord, my sacrifice is a broken spirit; a contrite heart You will not despise. (Ps.51:19)
Your great pains and death on the cross serve as our inspiration in these times of trials. Yet must we suffer for ignoring earlier signs. But our faith in Your love and mercy will sustain us in these trying times. Amen.

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