And others, tempting him, sought of him (Jesus) a sign from heaven. And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonah the prophet. For as Jonah was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and, behold, a greater than Jonah is here.Luke 11: 16, 29-32 KJV
People want a sign from Heaven. Hey, I’ve been guilty of saying, “Give me a sign” plenty of times. But not everyone thinks a math sign is a good answer.
If you didn’t follow that, stay with me. I’m going to take you down the path my thoughts wander sometimes. Yes, it happens when I’m sitting in the pew and at work and even when I’m driving down the road.
The latest church wandering happened a couple weeks ago. You can check out the full sermon here.
I’m going to shift a bit of the blame onto the pastor. He’s the one who began his sermon flashing a math symbol on the monitor (the same one that’s on the header of this blog). He said the title was “Jesus Greater Than.”
I stuck with him for most of the sermon. Well, until he started talking about the people wanting a sign from Jesus.
I thought, “Yeah. I wish he’d send a neon sign in response to something I’ve been praying about for months.”
But on the heels of that thought, I had this one. “He did. It was the greater than sign.”
And I chuckled to myself.
See how this rabbit trail I took started with the pastor?
I took notes on the rest of the sermon, but my brain was occupied with trying to come up with a joke.
You want a sign. Here it is: the greater than sign. Jesus is greater than Solomon. Jesus is greater than Jonah.
Except when you go to Matthew’s account, it’s clear the sign is three days and three nights. The sign of Jonah. As long as he spent in the fish’s belly, that’s how long Jesus would spend in the realm of the dead.
But still, I pondered it. The Queen of Sheba was amazed by Solomon’s wisdom (and his kingdom). Much of Solomon’s recorded wisdom is part of the Jewish scripture. They quote him.
And Jesus says, “A greater than Solomon is here.” As in, someone wiser than the wisest man to ever live was standing in front of them.
But they wanted a sign from heaven.
Jesus was their sign. He fulfilled prophecy and had compassion on everyone he met.
But that wasn’t the sign they were looking for. It makes me wonder what sign would have convinced them.
So, I’ll choose to be convinced by the mathematical symbol.
Thank You, Jesus for being greater than.