Jesus Christ is all the signs of God to us
Matthew 12:38-50 (Pastor Heo)
The Sign of Jonah
12:39-42pp — Lk 11:29-32 12:43-45pp — Lk 11:24-26
38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.” 39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 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. 42 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here. 43 “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
12:46-50pp — Mk 3:31-35; Lk 8:19-21
46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” 48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
This is the family of God in heaven.
This chapter (12) is the religious leaders continual challenge to Jesus.
- (v.2) The Pharisees condemned Jesus, “Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”
- (v. 10) “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
- (v. 14) They want to kill him.
- (v. 24) “This fellow drives out the demons by Beelzebub.”
- (v. 37) “Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.”
Nah, they didn’t really want to see it to believe it. They were just challenging him. Jesus said, “A wicked and adulterous generation wants a sign.” To ask for a sign = evidence of unbelief.
1 Corinthians = “Jews look for signs, Greeks look for human philosophy. But we preach Christ – a stumbling block and confusion… God will save some through the foolishness of what is preached.”
3 Responses today
- 38-42: Their history
- 43-45: Their (bad) hearts
- 46-50: He rejects their honor
#1: Reveals their history
- The sign of Jonah.
- The queen of the south = Arabia (Yemen)
2 stories: Jonah + the Queen of Sheba
- Jonah = in Jonah in the OT
- Queen of Sheba = 1 Kings 10, 2 Chronicles 9
Jonah (a Jew) was sent to the Gentiles – Ninevah – under the conquest of Assyria – one of the great enemies of the Jews.
The Queen of Sheba was a Gentile, but came from her country to listen to the wisdom of Solomon.
According to the culture of that time, the fact that Jesus mentioned Gentiles, probably irritated the Pharisees.
This sign of Jonah was important – Jonah experienced a kind of death, burial and resurrection in the belly of the whale. All the signs we need today are Jesus’ death and resurrection. That’s why the whole first half of the book of Acts focuses on this, and why Acts has many, many witnesses to the resurrected life of Jesus.
Jonah was in there for 3 days and 3 nights.
Jesus, however, was in there from Friday night to Sunday morning. At that time, the Jews used “3 days and 3 nights” for emphasis to mean simply “3 days” – also they would say “40 days and 40 nights” for emphasis though it would most likely be 40 days and 39 nights technically.
Jesus is much greater than Jonah here.
- Jonah = man, Jesus = man + God
- Jonah = disobedience at first, Jesus = obedience to death
- Jonah’s grave = in the belly of the whale, a symbol of death, Jesus = a true death and resurrection
- Jonah’s ministry = once, to one place, Jesus = one day for a timeless salvation for all people of the world
- Jonah’s love = non-existent, animosity in fact – he was a messenger of the wrath of God, Jesus’ ministry = a message of love, grace, and salvation
Jesus is greater in his wisdom, wealth, and works
Now, Solomon was very wise, wealthy, and had many works done for him – but Jesus was/is much greater. To see and hear his words is much more satisfying than to visit the kingdom of Solomon.
The moral: The citizens of Ninevah and the Queen of Sheba will witness against the Jewish Pharisees because (1) they repented (Pharisees rejected), and (2) she traveled a long distance to hear (they ignored). The greater the message, the greater the responsibility.
The wisdom of Solomon caused the Queen of Sheba to worship God. “Praise be to your God, he has delighted in you and placed you in the throne of Israel. God has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.” How unsearchable God’s ways. God can never be limited by our imaginations. Who would have imagined that this woman would become an example of Jesus’ for us today. Please, don’t put God in the small box of your imagination. Surprises may come – strange moments we could not predict. If we understand God clearly, we can take all accidents as Opportunities, not Problems. Please think of all people in your life as Willing Listeners. If we believe in God truly, we receive all Problems as Opportunities to pray.
Proverbs 16:19 “A man determines his way, but God sets his steps.”
What are our reactions when confronted with Jesus Christ? What do you think?
#2: Jesus reveals their hearts (v. 43-45)
Do you believe your heart is being revealed by Christ?
Even today, this is happening (”this wicked generation”). Satan’s house = the body of the person possessed by a demon. Our bodies can be the house of Satan. The demons are restless, peaceless, wandering all the time looking for bodies to rest in and dwell in.
When that demon left, that man’s life was changed for the better. BUT, if that man’s life is still empty, when the demon returns, he brings other spirits and the man’s life becomes worse than before – a tragedy.
Yes, evil spirits can be driven out, can be conquered, but cannot be destroyed. They are constantly looking for an opportunity to counter-attack and regain ground. They are never eliminated until Jesus’ Second Coming. So, we must be always vigilant, watchful, and alert.
Lesson 2: It isn’t enough to clean your house (your mind/body). After cleaning it, we must invite in the right tenant. A negative religion cannot be enough. A religion that has only “Thou Shalt Not” etc you will always fail. One religion around us = “Everything is useless. Desire makes our lives stressful and unhappy. So, you must try to remove all desire and passion. Remove all desire, all passion, become empty, become passionless, ambitionless.” Is this good? No, emptiness makes our lives only more terrible.
For example, if we try to eliminate bad habits, that’s good, but not enough. At the same time, we must decide to do something good.
The best way to rid a garden of weeds is to feed the plants good things. Fill your head and heart and energy and time with something good. What’s the BEST? Jesus. The only cure for evil action = Christian action. Our goal is not only removal of negative action, but also “regeneration” – replacing the negative action with positive action.
Revelation 3:29? “Here I am. I stand at the door and knock…”
That’s why the Bible encourages us to constantly “be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”
Remember, our lives can never remain empty. They must be filled with something or somebody. With what, or with whom is your life filled now?
#3: Jesus rejects their honor
Even Jesus’ earthly family didn’t fully understand him or his ministry. Some of his close friends even thought he was mad (crazy). But he didn’t want human honor.
He wasn’t disrespectful toward his earthly family, but he emphasized the family of God. Why? They will live together eternally.
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened. I’ll give you peace. Peace I give to you, I do not give as this world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
1 John “This world and all its passions pass away but the man who does the will of the Lord will live forever.”
Matthew “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father.”
Do you have true membership in the true family of God? This is only found in obedience to the will of God in heaven – putting our faith in Christ and putting our faith into action.
“Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”