Ignoring the Signs

Matthew 12: 38-42

An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it . . .
(Matthew 12:39)

Jonah’s obedience to God’s command
Prevented Nineveh’s destruction.
We need no sign to understand:
Repentance is God’s instruction.

Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But He answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea whale, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth. The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and something greater than Jonah is here! The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here!” (Matthew 12:38-42)


One can only wonder why the scribes and pharisees were still asking for a sign from Jesus after He had healed the afflictions of hundreds from Galilee to Syria, including demoniacs, and His fame had spread all over Judea and beyond the Jordan River. There could only be two likely explanations: 1) they wanted to test Jesus in order to accuse Him, such as when they attributed His power to exorcise evil spirits to Satan earlier in the chapter; and/or 2) their prejudice against Jesus showed their hardness of heart, and no amount of evidence could make them change their minds. As Jesus would tell His apostles later, “They look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand. Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: ‘You shall indeed hear but not understand, you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted and I heal them’.”

Thus, the obstinacy of pharaoh — in the First Reading– in pursuing the Israelites who had fled from Egypt, only led to the destruction of his own army in the Red Sea. He should have been convinced already after all the signs that Moses and Aaron had shown him that came from Yahweh.

God has already provided us with enough evidence in Scriptures (both in the Old and the New Testament), that should lead to our conversion. No scientist in the world has ever refuted the accuracy of the Bible. It is the best attested historical document that civilization has ever possessed. Composed of 66 books, it was written by more than 40 authors coming from widely differing cultures over a period of 1,500 years. “It could only be by divine inspiration and superintendence that this unity and cohesiveness was achieved.” The Gospel of John, ch. 20: 30-31, says, “Many other signs did Jesus perform in the sight of His disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. And that believing, you may have life in His name.”

Dear God, we know that miraculous signs all over the world have been manifested by our Lord Jesus, His Mother Mary, and many saints; and yet millions of people still ignore the evidences available to them. Lord, convert their hearts of stone, and open their eyes and ears to the saving power of Your Gospel. This we pray in Jesus. Amen.

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