Jesus’ warning against unbelief

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Jesus’ warning against unbelief      

Luke 11:29-30 ‘As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “It asks for a miraculous 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.’

Extra Reading: Luke 11:1-32.

After admonishing his listeners to follow him (11:23), Jesus clearly describes the consequences of not believing him. The request for a sign revealed wicked unbelief. In his unique style, Luke once again highlighted the sayings of Jesus that contrasted the unbelief of the Jews with the faith of the Gentiles. Jesus commended the pagan Queen of Sheba and the Gentile people of Nineveh for listening to God’s messengers-Solomon and Jonah-while at the same time exhorting his Jewish listeners to follow their example and listen to him. By flatly refusing to give yet another sign, Jesus was stressing the importance of his message. It was more important than the miraculous signs, which only pointed to the truth of his message. That message is clearly laid out in the Bible. Just as Jesus confronted those who asked for a sign on that warm day in Galilee, every time you open Scripture, be ready to be confronted by Jesus’ teaching. Let his words pierce your heart and soul, so that they can transform your life.

Verses 29 and 30 helps you immediately discover that Jesus was responding to the request made in 11:16. The people had asked Jesus for a sign from heaven to prove that he was from God. Instead of giving a sign beyond the miracles and healings he had performed, Jesus explained that no miraculous sign would be given except the sign of Jonah. God had asked Jonah to preach repentance to the Gentiles (non-Jews)-he had been sent by God to the Assyrian city of Nineveh. Jonah preached to the city and saw it repent. With the words “as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation,” Jesus was affirming Jonah’s message. Salvation is not only for Jews but also for all people.  The Ninevites and the Queen of the South had turned to God with far less evidence than Jesus was giving his listeners-and far less than people have today, with eyewitness reports of the risen Jesus, the continuing power of the Holy Spirit unleashed at Pentecost, easy access to the Bible, and knowledge of two thousand years of Christ’s acts through his church.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to listen and to respond to you. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Rev. Samuel N. Modise  

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