Matthew 12:39 – July 20, 2020

He said to them in reply, “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet.” Matthew 12:39 NABRE           

Jesus is approached by the religious leadership asking for a sign that would validate Him as a prophet or leader with a message from God. Their question isn’t genuine, they believe the signs Jesus has shown could just as easily been performed by a follower of the evil one. These leaders are already plotting to kill Jesus and will explain away His power as being from demons and coming from the evil one. In order to justify their own plans they bring doubt to the healing and signs that Jesus has performed. Like today when wanting to challenge a leader or political power, gossip and innuendo can be used to bring doubt and undermine their character.  This is the plan of these religious leaders asking Jesus for a sign knowing He is unlikely to give them a sign that they will accept. Jesus is aware of their treachery and responds they are an evil and unfaithful generation. Jesus knows scripture refers to selfish leaders in this manner. The people journeying to the Promise Land refused to do what God was asking, they were called an evil generation (Deuteronomy 1:35.)  Jesus seems to be indicating by asking for a sign people can determine risk for not listening to Him or God. Jesus will give no sign, except the sign of Jonah who lived in the belly of a whale. This is a subtle foreshadowing of Jesus’ death and resurrection. As Jonah escapes death after being in the belly of a whale for three days and nights (see Jonah 2), Jesus will experience death and triumphantly rise after three days and three nights from the heart of the earth. This sign is a sign of love.

We should not need signs to follow Jesus. We should follow out of love and gratefulness for life.

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