Jonah and Genuine Repentance-Luke 11:29-32

Luke 11:29-32 “As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here.32 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 one greater than Jonah is here.”

Luca 11:29-32 “Mentre la gente si affollava intorno a lui, egli cominciò a dire: «Questa generazione è una generazione malvagia; chiede un segno, ma segno non le sarà dato, se non il segno di Giona. 30 Infatti come Giona fu un segno per i Niniviti, così anche il Figlio dell’uomo lo sarà per questa generazione. 31 La regina del mezzogiorno comparirà nel giudizio con gli uomini di questa generazione e li condannerà, perché ella venne dalle estremità della terra per udire la sapienza di Salomone; ed ecco, qui c’è più di Salomone. 32 I Niniviti compariranno nel giudizio con questa generazione e la condanneranno, perché essi si ravvidero alla predicazione di Giona; ed ecco, qui c’è più di Giona.”

In this same context, both Matthew and Mark convey that the Pharisees had been asking for a sign to prove that the message of Jesus was true. Although many signs had already been given, Jesus perceived the closed minds of the Pharisees and responded that no sign would be given except the sign of Jonah. What was the sign of Jonah? It was the message he preached that caused the Ninevites to repent. But what was the message? He related that he was to go to Nineveh to preach repentance but ran from God who brought him to the point of death; God miraculously delivered him from the belly of the great fish to bring salvation to this wicked generation of Ninevites. It is amazing that without any evidence to back his story, they believed Jonah and repented.

In addition to the testimony of Jonah, Jesus illustrated further with the Queen of the South’s declaration who had heard rumors of the wisdom of Solomon and traveled a great distance saying “not even half was told me” (1 Kings 10:7). She responded to what she had heard and then saw. In both cases, it was the Gentiles who listened to the message. This was obviously aimed at the audience who knew these Old Testament accounts to be true. Jesus then says something that greatly arrests and disturbs this unbelieving crowd: these Gentiles (Ninevites) will stand up in judgment to this present generation and condemn them for their unbelief. Although there was one here who was greater than Solomon and Jonah, they still didn’t believe. The truth is that when people’s hearts are set against the things of God, no amount of miraculous proof can convince them otherwise.

Pray with me: Lord, at times I have fallen into the trap of looking for miracles and signs to prove who You are to the world. Help me to realize that these things can never replace the message of repentance and without genuine repentance, the world is lost.

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