Thursday, July 6, 2017
Spiritual Messages | Jesus is the One
This Sunday, July 2nd is the fourth Sunday after Pentecost. (2017)
The scriptures of the day Matthew 12:38-45, Romans 7:25-8:1-11, are about whether Jesus was truly the One that they were waiting for. This question was raised once again by the same Pharisees and teachers of the Law who always followed our Lord whenever He was crowded by the multitude. They were persistent in their quest to get him convicted with their legal questions. This time, they asked Him for a sign, any sign that might convince them that He was the One. They hoped He would offer up a sign which they could use against Him. A prophetic sign perhaps?
These naysayers were forever trying to discredit Jesus and His disciples. They went after Him for violating the Sabbath observance and another time they claimed that He was affected by a prince of demons because He had driven demons from a sick man. And now they were asking for a sign!
Our Lord answered them in the following way; “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 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.
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 something greater than Jonah is here. 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 something greater than Solomon is here.” (Matt. 12:39-43).
Jonah, in Hebrew ‘Yonah’ means “dove”. He was called by God to go to Nineveh and preach to the people who did not know the difference between their right and left hand, to repent. Nineveh was a longtime enemy of the Jews, so Jonah disobeying God, tried to escape on a ship headed elsewhere. A great storm almost overturned the ship and as the crew members came to realize that Jonah was the cause of this storm, they cast him forth into the sea, and the sea ceased from her raging” (Jonah 1:15)
However, “the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah” (John 1:17), where he remained three days and three nights. In the great fish’s belly, Jonah prayed and consented to do God’s work. The great fish released Jonah and after a three days’ walk he came to the great city-state of Nineveh. Jonah, preached to the people of Nineveh, and for forty days the Ninevites including their king repented and were saved.
The sign given to the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law was that Jesus was to be killed for the sake of mankind and would be buried in the heart of the earth for three days, in an analogous way Jonah was cut off from the living in the belly of that great fish. However, as God’s ordeal was to bring Jonah to life from the fish’s belly, in the same way, Jesus was to rise again to bring redemption to the entire world.
This was not the only time that the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law pressed Jesus to give them a sign or tell them plainly if He was the One to come. In John 10, again the same group of Pharisees approached Jesus shouting ““How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” (John 10:24). Also, at our Lord’s trial by the council of the elders, both the chief priests and the teachers of the Law asked Him. “If you are the Messiah, tell us.”
During all these events, our Lord’s answer was not direct, for He knew that their goal was not to hear the truth, but to indict Him with an evidence of rebellion against the Roman Authorities. Simply, they wanted to kill Him.
Our Lord’s answer to them was always cautious and indirect. “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me.” (John 10:25). Elsewhere, at His trial, He said. “If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer. But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.” And when they asked Him, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied, “You say that I am.”
Although His answers were not enough evidence to impeach Him, they concluded “Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.” (Luke 22:67-71). Eventually, He was crucified as rebellious leader against Rome. Herewith they inserted a superscription over his head, “Jesus the Nazarene the king of the Jews”.
Our Lord’s second sign was “Someone greater than Jonah is here.” He meant to state that “unless you repent and accept “Me” as the redeemer, you shall not be saved.”
The third sign was “Something greater than Solomon is here. Indeed, the One that was standing in their midst was actually the giver of that Wisdom to Solomon. Unless they acknowledged Him as the Wisdom of the Father who was, is and always will be, they will not be saved.
The whole bible is full of symbolism. The number 3 is one of the most frequently used symbols in the Bible. The remaining numbers are 4, 7, 10, 33, 40 and 70.