In chapter 11 of Luke’s gospel, the Lord Jesus becomes more aggressive and earnest in His ministry style. Now that His identity as the Christ has been officially declared by Peter, He talks openly of His upcoming suffering and death and begins to declare to people their need for repentance and for submitting to Him and believing in Him.
In these four verses (11:29-32) Jesus talks about signs (or ‘attesting miracles’) that have been given in the past that foreshadowed the coming of the Messiah and also about attesting miracles that are happening in His present lifetime.
As the crowds are swelling, He says, “This generation is a wicked generation.” Jesus declares the truth about the people of that generation and of all generations: we are wicked people. We seek for miracles which amaze us and at the same time distract us from the desperate state in which we find ourselves, facing death and eternal judgment before a holy God. We seek for miracles instead of repenting and seeking holiness and righteousness. And we are a wicked generation in need of a Savior.
This generation seeks for a miracle, but no sign will be given but the sign of Jonah. Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the fish and then was “resurrected” by being vomited up on the beach by the fish. Then in his resurrected state, he came to Nineveh and preached against it, calling for repentance before Yahweh. Just so will the Son of Man (Jesus) spend three days and three nights in the tomb before being resurrected to glorious splendor to display Himself to this generation. So the first sign is the sign of the resurrection, infinitely greater than the sign of Jonah. For Jonah was vomited up on the beach, but Jesus was gloriously resurrected.
The Queen of the South traveled a long ways just to hear the wisdom of Solomon and to see the splendor of his kingdom. How much more should the men of this generation and of every generation do everything in their power to hear the words of the Son of God and do all they can to be near Him. While Solomon was wise and His kingdom was impressive, Jesus Christ is the Son of God and outshines Solomon as the sun outshines a candle. If you do not rush to the Son of God, you will be condemned in the judgment. The second sign, then, is that something greater than Solomon is here.
The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it because they repented at the human preaching of Jonah and obeyed his call to turn from wickedness. But this generation has the Son of God calling out to them to repent and to believe in Him for eternal life, and they walk away in ridicule and defiance, mocking the One who can save them from eternal condemnation. As the Ninevites obeyed Jonah, so we must repent at the revealing of the Son of God. The third sign is that something greater than Jonah is here.
Jesus argues from the lesser to the greater. If these people responded to this lesser thing, how much more should we respond to glorious greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what is being shown here in these verses.
SDG rmb 9/21/2015