“When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, "This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.” Luke 11:29-32 ESV
Have you ever refused to believe something unless you received tangible evidence it was true? Perhaps it was the news that a long distance relative or friend were in town or perhaps some good news you had been waiting for had been confirmed by a secondary source, rather than the primary.
The phrase ‘l’ll believe it when I see it’ has become a part of our everyday vocabulary as in some cases has found its way into our faith walk.
This was the notion Jesus was challenging in today’s reading. Jesus was trying to encourage his listeners of the dangers of seeking a sign, especially when all you need is literally standing right in front of you. Jesus calls the generation of sign seekers ‘evil’ as they were looking for something greater, not understanding that the greatest sign was right under their nose.
Today’s reading ends with a comparison of the faith of the Queen of the South and the people of Nineveh. Jesus states that on the day of judgement both will condemn his generation as they believed with a lesser sign (Jonah and Solomon) yet his generation have the Son of Man right before their eyes but struggle to believe.
I am strongly convicted that the same issue Jesus had with his generation is true of our own. Developments in scientific research and a plurality of religious positions, have led to us sometimes having a problem believing something which has not been proven empirically. Whilst the laws of science have greatly impacted us as a society, we cannot apply them to the laws of faith. As stated by the German philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein, it is illogical to apply the language of science to the language of religion as they belong to different language games, therefore to do such a thing doesn’t make sense. Am I saying religious and science are foes? No! What I am saying is we cannot dispute that religion is a faith based phenomenon, where science has a greater reliance on testing and empirical evidence.
The message of today is that in Jesus, we have the ultimate sign of the existence of a loving, transforming, relational God, who wants to restore His creation back to himself. My encouragement is that you will look to HIM! Not what He can do for you, but that you will focus on what He has already done for you 2000 years ago.
Let us been Saviour seekers not sign seekers. Let us understand that what Jesus has already done for us is far greater than anything else he could possibly do. Let us present our Saviour to this dying world as the ultimate sign of hope, peace, deliverance, transformation and love. It is only once we do that, that as a generation people will stop looking for signs of hope and healing in other areas of life, but understand that the ultimate sign is already here, and He has already done everything He needs to do in order to cause you to fulfill your God-given purpose.
In closing, if you are currently struggling or wavering if your faith, my prayer for you is that rather than ask God for a further sign of his realness, you will ask Him to illuminate your mind and spirit to the power of His resurrection and what that means for you as His son or daughter. A practical starting place for this to happen is the book John. Read it without a bias, reason with your heart, mind and spirit open and watch what God does in your life.