As Jesus traveled Israel, healing people and casting out demons, many people, including most of the leaders of the day, doubted him and even surmised that he was demon possessed. Today Jesus and his friends, Jonah and the Queen of Sheba answer back…
29 As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a 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 people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now something 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 something greater than Jonah is here.
Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites: He went to them with God’s message to repent from their wickedness. The king then declared to his people, “Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish,” (Jonah 3:8-9). God loved the Ninevites so much that he sent Jonah to warn them, and then God offered them grace when they turned from their wickedness, not holding their wickedness against them.
The Queen of Sheba from the south came to acquire the wisdom of Solomon. She marveled at his wisdom and then said, “Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on his throne as king to rule for the Lord your God. Because of the love of your God for Israel and his desire to uphold them forever, he has made you king over them, to maintain justice and righteousness,” (2Chronicles 9:8). The word of God extends beyond the borders of Israel and beyond the borders of Christianity to reach people like the queen, who come a far distance to seek the truth.
Why do these examples make it into Jesus’ story in Luke 11? Why do the Ninevites and the Queen of Sheba stand as condemnation of Israel at the judgment of God? It is because the wisdom of Solomon and the story of Jonah, as great as they are in illuminating God’s power and his plan in the world, pale in contrast to the incarnation of Jesus and his revelation of God in our world.
They were attributing Jesus’ power to heal and cast out demons to the power of the devil right before this. Their problem is that they are missing the power of God – they are missing God – standing right in front of them. They don’t value God’s wisdom and they miss the call of God to turn from sin. Most of the religious leaders ignored the warnings of John the Baptist as well… and so they stand condemned…
Where are you at? What will you do with Jesus’ teachings? How will you respond to his wisdom and offer of grace and challenge to live a different and better life? Will the queen of Sheba condemn you? Will Nineveh stand as a witness against you at the judgement?
Someone greater than Solomon and Jonah has come. Will you meet and follow the Lord Jesus?