29 When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be to this generation. 31 The queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here! 32 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 see, something greater than Jonah is here!
Jesus speaks very strongly to the crowds, challenging their unbelief by referencing the humility and repentant hearts of the Ninevites and the queen of the south. Foreigners! Gentiles! These ‘inferior’ people were more receptive when approached by a lesser servant of God! Jesus really would have rankled Jewish pride by such accusations.
Was Jesus trying to provoke the crowds and force them to confront their unbelief? Was He trying to wake them up from a misplaced pride in their identity and draw them back to real relationship and dependence on God? Was such an approach likely to work? I don’t know exactly what Jesus was doing, but I know that He had come to seek and to save the lost, particularly in Israel. What I am certain of here is that Jesus was passionate about people being right with God and He got heated about it!
Am I passionate about those around me knowing God? Am I frustrated? God, please help me to have your heart and to help others step into and grow in relationship with you. Amen.
Written by Beth Waugh