The Only Sign To Believe

Luke 11: 29-32

Jon 3:1-10/ Ps 51:3-4,12-13,18-19

This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.
(Luke 11: 29)

Not even Solomon’s wisdom

Comes close to the Word of Jesus;

He is the Sign from God’s kingdom

Who came down to earth and freed us.

As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now something greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now something greater than Jonah is here.” (Lk.11:29-32)


Throughout the history of Israel, as far back as the time of Noah, the Jews were always seeking signs from God to guide them. After the great flood, God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth” (Gen.9:12-13). And yet, despite all the signs that God showed, His Chosen People remained stubborn and disobedient. God said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them?” (Num.14:11) How easily they were swayed by false signs, prompting Moses to warn them: “If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, “Let us follow other gods… and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deut.13:1-3)

Jesus gave the same warning when he said, “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time.” (Mat. 24:24-25) Our Lord knew how stubborn His people were. After He had exorcised an evil spirit, instead of seeing this as a sign of God’s handiwork, the Jews attributed His power to Beelzebul, the prince of demons. They refused to believe what was happening right before their very eyes. Thus He called them “a wicked generation.”

Jesus used the story of Jonah to show the “wickedness” of the Jews. This reluctant prophet of God turned the hearts of the pagan Ninevites to repentance even without a sign from heaven. So why couldn’t the miracles performed by Jesus 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). So what excuse could Jesus’ generation have after seeing the signs He performed in their midst, and still meet him with resistance instead of belief and repentance?

What about our present generation? What do you think Jesus would say about the way the wealthiest 1% have been putting their faith in their economic power and treating the rest of the 99%? We dread to think what sign will finally convince them that a disastrous reckoning for their pride and profligacy 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 with the world-wide economic crisis threatening to become another Great Depression. I hope to God this is only a figment of my imagination.

Lord Jesus, you have taught us not to look for signs to prove Your love. It is enough that we see Your cross to make us believe and repent of our sins. We are the ones who still have so much to prove to be worthy of Your great sacrifice. Amen.

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