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March 3 | Matthew 12:38-50


 

DAILY READING


 

Jesus and Jonah?


by Kim Starr


Jesus just healed a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute. The people are wondering if Jesus is the Messiah. The Pharisees are saying that Jesus is performing miracles by the power of Satan; however, Jesus has just given a lengthy teaching on why this was impossible. Even so, the Pharisees ask Jesus for a sign.

How ridiculous is that? Jesus just gave them a sign; a sign so significant that the people are considering whether He is the Messiah. Jesus has been performing miracles to prove to the people who He is. The problem is that the miracles are not enough. They want something more.


Even though Jesus is performing signs, the hearts of the people, including the Pharisees, are not in the right place. The people are hard-hearted, stubborn, and rebellious, just like their ancestors. The people don’t need a sign; they need a new heart. God is looking for people whose hearts are filled with love for Him.


Jesus explains to the people He has one more significant sign for them: the sign of the prophet Jonah. Jonah was a defiant and rebellious prophet who did not want to preach about God to the Ninevites. Jonah refused to go to Nineveh because he wanted God to judge the Ninevites, not give them an opportunity to repent. Instead of going, he got on a boat and ended up in the belly of a large fish for three days. Then God had mercy on Him, spat him out and Jonah went to Nineveh where the people repented, and God had mercy on them. Unlike Jonah, Jesus will be obedient, die on the cross, and be put in a tomb for three full days and three full nights. Jesus’ great sign will be His resurrection three days after His death. If His resurrection does not generate belief, no other sign will.


Jesus then reminds the people that, when Jonah came to Nineveh, the ruthless Gentiles there repented. Jesus says He has come for the people who are supposed to be holy people of God, the Israelites, but they are not repenting like the Ninevites did; rather, they are rejecting Him. He reminds them that, in the days of Solomon, the queen of the South (the Queen of Sheba), traveled a great distance to hear Solomon’s wisdom. She was a Gentile; yet, she understood the need to go to Solomon.


Jesus says He is a greater prophet than Jonah or Solomon and everyone should believe in Him. Instead, He is being rejected and asked to do more signs. Jesus is giving them all the signs and information they need to turn their lives around, believe in Him and give their hearts to Him, but they are doing nothing.


God wants us to repent. God wants us to have a deep devotion to Him. God wants us to fill our heart with love for Him. God wants us to have a love for His Word. God wants us to have a passion for His will. God wants us to serve in the mission of glorifying His name. Any people who do the Father’s will are God’s brothers and sisters. They belong to the family of God.


PRAYER

Oh God, thank you for letting us be a part of your family! Thank you for giving us the opportunity to repent and submit our lives to do Your will. May we fear You, bow down to You, surrender to You in obedience, devotion, reverence, and awe. Help us to concentrate on loving and learning about You and sharing You with others. Overwhelm us and encompass us so that we are totally focused on You. Amen.



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