We are still with the same crowd as during the last couple of days in our study. It consists of Jesus, MANY people wanting healing (including a man who was blind and mute as a result of demonic oppression), Jesus’ disciples, a group of scheming Pharisees and some scribes. Jesus had left the temple a while ago because of the Pharisees’ accusations and their plotting behavior. Of course, even the Pharisees followed Him. A couple of days ago in our study we saw how the Pharisees made THE greatest mistake possible. They said that Jesus’ work was being accomplished by Beelzebul, the Prince of Demons. Jesus met that remark with righteous indignation. After a short pause, the Pharisees are ready to try again.
Jesus continued to address the Pharisees while He is also talking to the crowd. The crowd was so awed by the healing miracle, that they were finally wondering if Jesus was more than just a prophet or teacher, but promised The Messiah instead. Jesus told the group to look at His works and to judge for themselves, because good works can’t come from a bad source.
Working up his courage again, after being so strongly reprimanded by Jesus, the Pharisee leader says, “I’ll tell You what, if You give us a sign, THEN we WILL believe.” His group of followers nod their heads in agreement. “Yes, that’s all we’re really asking for. Proof beyond a shadow of a doubt.”
Jesus eyes pop open wide and His eyebrows shoot right up into His hairline. ‘Seriously!?! What do these rock heads think all the miracles they have seen WITH THEIR OWN EYES have been? What about all My teaching, and all the prophecies I have fulfilled from the Torah? How much more proof do they need?’ Jesus takes a deep breath and says, “You know what. You don’t deserve a sign, but I’m going to give you one anyway. You have ignored everything I have done to date, up to and including ALL the prophecies I have fulfilled so far. So here it is. I’m sure you remember the story of Jonah; how he was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights. Well, I’m going to be in ‘the heart of the earth’ for three days and three nights. If that sign doesn’t convince you then nothing will.” Jesus shakes His head and says, “The people of Nineveh listened to Jonah after his ordeal, but I know you too well to think even the sign I’m going to give you will open your eyes. On the day of judgement, the people of Nineveh who listened, are going to look at you and be disgusted by your behavior. They listened to Jonah and repented, whereas you refuse to listen, even though I am standing here with you daily and my teachings are greater than Jonah’s.
Even the Queen of the South had more brains than you. She was so determined to learn from Solomon and gain wisdom from him that she traveled from the ends of the earth just to meet him. Yet I stand here every day, sharing wisdom straight from Heaven with you, and you refuse to listen.” Jesus’ face is a mixture of disappointment, sorrow, and determination.
Jesus knows the plan in detail. He knows that He has to be rejected by Israel, but He is going to keep reaching out to them anyway. In His reaching out He is protecting the people the Pharisees are trying to influence, as well as impacting a few within their group. He will continue to reach out to Israel to the end of eternity.
The leader of the Pharisees has lost a lot of his bluster again. He also had a new question to think about. What was Jesus talking about when He said He would be “in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights?” ‘Of course no one can go into the heart of the earth. That’s just ridiculous; isn’t it?’
Lord Jesus, I can’t even imagine the frustration You felt, dealing with the Pharisees all the time. I would want to jump up and SLAP them during today’s encounter! How could they be so blind!?! They had all the evidence right there in front of them, yet they refused to see. I know; it was part of the plan. But I just don’t get it.
I feel the same way when I’m talking to some of my grandkids about You and all You have done, especially about creation. I don’t get how they don’t understand. I realize that I am just one voice in their sea of ideas. My oldest has even created his own convoluted ideas of a hierarchical god structure. I think he is trying to reconcile the conflicting viewpoints he is exposed to and his own internal “God spot” that you create in each of us. How I wish I could just show him my picture of You and have him grasp it. Probably the same thing You have been thinking all along with all of mankind. Please bring the right person into each of my family members’ lives that will have the impact for You that I seem to be unable to make. I don’t know if it is because of familiarity or what, but please take the blinders and scales off their eyes so they can truly see before it is too late. I love them dearly but don’t know how to reach them. Reach them for me please Father God! Whatever it takes. I trust You with them, and me.