March 05, 2013

Greater Than Jonah

Luke 11:29-32

“They repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now something greater than Jonah is here.”
—Luke 11:32


People love to see something amazing. Miraculous signs by Jesus, such as healing the sick and driving out demons, amazed everyone (Luke 11:14). Crowds come when impressive things happen. But the crowds listening to Jesus were in for a surprise. He wasn’t just going to do miracles so that people could be amazed.

In Jesus’ time, miraculous signs were understood as proof that someone was a true prophet. And Jesus used them to show people that the kingdom of heaven was present among them, in him (John 10:37-38). But he wasn’t about to use miracles for people’s entertainment, or just because they demanded proof that he was their promised deliverer (Messiah). The purpose of the miracles was to help people believe in him. That’s what they really needed: to believe in him as the Savior. But if they weren’t ready to believe, no additional miracles would help. In effect, Jesus said they could wait till they were given “the sign of Jonah.” This referred to Jonah’s being “buried” for three days in the belly of a fish. So too, Jesus would be buried in the belly of the earth, after dying on a cross (see Matthew 12:39-40). Then he would rise to life again and walk out of his tomb, the risen Savior!

Jesus rightly became frustrated with people’s expectations and lack of belief. How have we responded to Jesus today? Do we believe in him and serve him faithfully?

Dear Jesus, give us the power to live in a way pleasing to you as we learn from you. Amen.

About the author — George Vink

Pastor George Vink has served as a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church for more than 30 years in British Columbia, Montana, Michigan, and California. He and his wife, Shirley, have four married sons and nine grandchildren.

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