Advent Readings Day 4

Reading: Luke 11:29-32

“As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.” Luke 11:29-30

When I originally read today’s passage I felt as if it seemed out of place in a run up to Christmas.  All of this talk about Jonah and the Queen of the South.  What is Jesus talking about here?

In Luke 11 we see Jesus challenge the Pharisees about their hypocrisy.  And into that discussion we read about the need for a sign.  Perhaps the generation that Jesus was speaking to is not much different than the generation we currently live in.  We love signs.  We want God to make it clear to us.  We love seeing the miraculous in action.  Lights. Cameras. Power.  While I am a guy who believes that signs and wonders still happen today, it is possible at times that we get attracted to the signs and wonders rather than the God who is acting through them.

We are a people who are no longer impressed by the ordinary.

Jesus’ words toward the Pharisees is that they are missing the point.  He is right in front of them and speaking words of truth, calling them to true faith, yet they can’t see Him for who He is.  They ask for more signs and more wonders and more power, but were missing the True One who was right in front of them.

Then Jesus brings out examples that would be insulting to religious people.  He talks of Jonah who was well received by Ninevah as a messenger from God as the people repented and believed.   The Queen of the South was Queen Sheba who traveled far and long to see Solomon and to learn the things of God from him.  She was a Gentile who went to great lengths to hear the wisdom that God had given him, yet these religious people in front of Jesus who claim to know God are missing the point continually.

These people from the wrong backgrounds were responsive to the message of God, yet the Pharisees were not. The Pharisees were asking for more and more of the spectacular while missing the core of Jesus’ message.

This all of a sudden seems like a timely message as we await the coming of Christmas.  How easy it would have been for us to not see Jesus in the humbleness of His birth and the simplicity of His message.  How easy it would have been for us to not see Him because we were expecting someone more stunning, handsome, powerful and spectacular.  “Wow” us, Jesus!

And how easy it is for us to miss Him and the core of His message as we do the run up to Christmas.  As the forces of culture, materialism and the spectacular cry out at every corner of every mall and advertisement we need a reminder that we are worshipping Jesus, the one who came in simplicity, humility and poverty – as the Servant of Servants.

Today, and throughout this season, may we be captured by Jesus in simplicity and truth and follow Him for who He is.

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