Jesus is continuing to draw crowds of ever increasing size. These crowds, especially the religious leaders, want a “sign.” HELLO! What has He been giving you all this time? So Jesus promises them one specific sign. He also condemns them for not believing the signs they were already receiving.
Jesus has been healing people, setting them free of demons, raising the dead and feeding MULTITUDES with next to nothing in plain view of everyone. Privately with His disciples He has also walked on water and calmed the storm. If these weren’t signs that He was sent by God what were they?
I guess the people’s problem was that they wanted definitive proof that He was the Messiah and not another prophet. Moses split the Red Sea. Elijah raised the dead. Elisha healed leprosy. Or it is more accurate to say that God performed these miracles through the prophets of old. So it should have been pretty obvious that Jesus’ works were from God, but what distinguished Him as the one and only Messiah? Was this what the people were asking?
Did this “testing” come from the religious leaders, the people or both? I’m thinking the religious leaders were the ones who started this doubt and kept egging it on. Jesus was drawing so many people to Himself that they had to do something to stop it. So they started asking for definitive proof. It wasn’t that He could do anything that would finally convince them, but that they wanted that doubt placed in the people’s minds and hearts.
Jesus told the people that they were all going to be held accountable for their unbelief come judgement day. They would even be judged guilty by pagan people for their failure to recognize and accept what was right in front of them.
Although they didn’t deserve it, Jesus promised them one sign that would be so definitive that NO ONE could argue with it. He promised them a sign similar to that of Jonah. Someone in the back probably thought, “Sure, show us a sign that someone else has already done. Way to be original.”
Jesus’ sign would be original though. It would be a sign that would stand the test of time. A sign that NO OTHER religious leader would ever claim to do. One that was witnessed by over 500 people. One that was impossible to fake. Jesus said He would spend three days and three nights in the earth.
I can just see those who were listening scratching their heads in confusion. “You are going to do what? How does that work? Is that even possible?” Did they have a clue that He was talking about death and resurrection? Was that a common saying back then? The religious leaders had an inkling that this was what He meant, because why else would they have put a guard on the tomb if they didn’t suspect His meaning? They knew the truth about a lot of things but refused to let the people know or give their support for Jesus’ message. THAT was what they will stand judged for in the end.
Because of the sign Jesus promised, and His fulfillment of it, many would come to believe in Him. It’s interesting how, after completing this sign, all the other signs that Jesus fulfilled along the way were enough to prove who He was AND is. 20/20 hindsight. I truly believe that a large part of the people’s blindness and the religious leaders’ refusal to accept the truth was divine intervention from God. He had a plan that had to be completed to exacting specifications. He wasn’t going to let anything derail that plan. Thank You God for that. I don’t even want to imagine what life would be like without Jesus.
Thank You Jesus for that one final sign. Thank You for sharing ahead of time with Your disciples what it really meant, even if they refused to believe it. They didn’t understand it either. Thank You that our understanding is not necessary for You to complete Your plans; globally and personally. Often I don’t understand what You are up to in my life. But I trust You. You have proven Yourself faithful throughout my life. I KNOW I can trust You. I trust You with my children and grandchildren’s lives too. I just wish I could see what it is You are doing and what the end result will be. I wish I was a great prayer warrior that KNEW You answered my prayers. I suppose that is where I come right back to trusting You; having faith in You to work it out. I love You Lord and I do trust You. Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.