29 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.
Jesus said, "This is a wicked generation."...self centred, fickle, easily distracted, noncommittal, faithless, full of doubt, hateful, condescending...and that is just me.
It asks for a miraculous sign...Oh how I ask. Everyday, I ask: "God, show me that you actually love me by...If you really loved me, I wouldn't have to...if you really give good gifts, you'd give me...
...but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. Jonah. A guy who spent three days and three nights in the belly of a big fish. You really going to do that trick again, Jesus? Slight pause...You calling us Ninevites, Jesus????
According to the Ancient Nineveh-Background Bible Study, "The city of Nineveh is described in Genesis 10:11 as having been founded by Nimrod, the hunter who built the tower of Babel and led the world into rebellion against God." Rebels who wanted to be their own gods or at least as powerful as God, as Strong and in control. But they couldn't. God took pity on them, confused the situation with many languages and sent them on their way...leaving them alive to repent and turn back to Him another day.
Then comes Jonah. Spit from dark depths to bring a choice of doom or redemption to a wicked city. Hmm. Sounds familiar.
"For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation." Jesus emerged from the depths of death to offer humanity salvation. Choose God or choose eternal doom. Same offer the Ninevites received...will my answer be as fervent, as heartfelt, as true as theirs to ward off the wrath of the Almighty?
"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." Why is the Queen of the south, a.k.a. the Queen of Sheba mentioned in this passage? Why does she suddenly have the power of judgement over this generation? 1 Kings 10 says,
"1 When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relation to the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions. 2 Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan--with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones--she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind. 3 Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. 4 When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, 5 the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the LORD, she was overwhelmed. 6 She said to the king, "The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. 7 But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard."
The Queen came to test Solomon and he blew her mind. His wisdom, his wealth, his power overwhelmed her. She gave to him from her own wealth...an act of peace-keeping between two monarchs, perhaps? The one deferring to the power of the other? Whatever it might have been, the Queen of Sheba had seen the power of God upon a mere human. Just imagine her disdain as she sees generation after generation refusing to recognize that "one greater than Solomon is here". Not only is He here, but He is sharing His wisdom, He is making His power known, He is turning the world as we know it upside-down...back to the way He designed it.
The Queen of Sheba and "the men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it". And rightly so. We turn blind eyes, deaf ears to the signs, to the message that one greater than Jonah, one far greater than Solomon is here and wants to spend time, eternity, with us.
The sign has already been given. There is no other. God has already proclaimed His love for us. God has already given the ultimate gift. His beloved Son, Jesus, died on the cross and rose again, conquering death that we may live in freedom, bathed in love, confident to enter the presence of the Almighty God knowing that He will see the blood of His Son on us and smile a welcome.
May we all realize the humbling truth that we already have everything that we need.
Jesus alone is sufficient.
Monday's scripture focus: Luke 11:33-36