As the crowd pressed in on Jesus, He said, “This evil generation keeps asking Me to show them a miraculous sign. But the only sign I will give them is the sign of Jonah. What happened to him was a sign to the people of Nineveh that God had sent him. What happens to the Son of Man will be a sign to these people that He was sent by God.The queen of Sheba will stand up against this generation on Judgment Day and condemn it, for she came from a distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Now someone greater than Solomon is here—but you refuse to listen. The people of Nineveh will also stand up against this generation on Judgment Day and condemn it, for they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here—but you refuse to repent.Luke 11:29-32
- Is this something that happened, and Luke has added it to the other events he described here, but without connection?
- Has he simply gathered a bunch of unrelated things, and put them together without purpose?
- Or is there something behind all of this, which connects it together? Remember what Luke did with the “prayer” and “bread” segments.
Luke’s arrangements tend to have purpose behind them, by virtue of the fact that he is writing “an ordered account” for you, Lover of God.
So, does what is recorded here connect to something else, or is it just one of a series of unrelated things?
- 1- 8 Pharisees protest harvesting grain on the Sabbath
- 9-14 Healing on the Sabbath
- 15 Jesus left that area
- 16-21 prophecy of Isaiah – hope of all the world.”
- 22 Demon possessed man healed and cleansed
- 23 Crowd, “Could this be Messiah?”
- 24-28 Kingdom divided
- 29-30 Strong man, stronger man
- 31-32 blasphemy against the Holy Spirit
- 33-37 evil men speak from evil hearts
- 38-42 evil generation demand a sign; sign of the prophet Jonah and Sheba
- 43-45 house left empty, person is worse off
- 46-50 who is my mother, brothers?
- 1-4 Lord’s prayer — daily bread
- 5-8 Friend asks for bread at midnight
- 9-10 Ask, seek, knock
- 11-13 If your children askfor bread,
- 14-15 Demon possessed man healed and cleansed
- 16 Demand a sign
- 15-20 Kingdom divided
- 21-23 Strong man, stronger man
- 24-26 house left empty, person is worse off
- 27-28 God bless Your mother
- 29-32 Evil generation demand a sign; sign of the prophet Jonah and Sheba
- 33-36 hiding a light under a basket. Make sure you are the light and not darkness.
- 37-54 Woe to Pharisees and teachers of the law
- 1-3 Beware of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees—their hypocrisy.
- 4-5 Don’t fear those who kill the body; Fear God, who has the power to throw you into hell.
- 6-7 More valuable than sparrows, hairs on your head are all numbered.
- 8-9 Acknowledge Me before men
- 10-12 blasphemy against the Holy Spirit
You can see at a glance, that the material used here is comparable. Both Gospel writers are using shared material, but in a very different order and in different contexts. Remember, that both Matthew and Luke are using teaching materials from Jesus sermons — what “Jesus said” is in focus here. But it is not ordered in a sequential, chronological way. Both Matthew and Luke are ordering Jesus teaching to suit their own theme or point. Luke’s material is arranged with a purpose. So we need to determine his purpose. This material is determined by theme and connection; it’s not a sequence of events that happened in this order. Both Matthew and Luke are using the material to develop their point or theme.
Notice some things before we start to pick this story apart for meaning. The request for a sign has already been requested before (verse 16). There were two parts to the crowd’s statements in Luke. A request for a sign, immediately after the demon possessed man had been healed and set free; and the challenge related to the source of Jesus power (verses 15-20). Jesus answered the second part first, and left the matter of the sign until these verses before us now. The two segments here, are separated because of the interjection by the woman in the crowd, who blurted out her statement about how Jesus’s mother must be blessed to have a son like Him. Following that, Jesus returns to the request for the sign. So why does Luke include the interjection, surely it breaks the flow? Ponder that one.
It is also worth noting, that in Luke’s story, the crowd challenges the source of His power (“some of the crowd”) and then “others” ask for a sign. But they have just had a sign. The miracles and the deliverances are miraculous signs. Why ask for more? We will deal with that matter in the next Gem. In Matthew’s version, it’s the Pharisees and teachers of the Law, who are behind the criticism. Whereas in Luke’s material, the criticism comes from the crowd, and starts generally, then becomes focused on the Pharisees and the Scribes later.
Notice too, the crowd was growing and pressing in. Literally, the idea is: when the crowd had grown even more; or another interpretation could be that it refers to the fact that they were more densely packed. Perhaps, because the crowd was getting larger and growing in numbers. Or perhaps, because they were pressing toward the front to get a better view of the action. Either way, there was great interest. Why?
- Because of the power encounter that was going on?
- Because of the fact that a demon-possessed man was set free?
- or because there was controversy, and controversy always seems to attract a crowd?
It is like the call in the playground at school these days, I am sure. No different from my day at school, “Fight, fight.” Whereupon everyone comes running to see the action. The fact that there was a verbal fight going on here, and an open confrontation between the Kingdom of Light and the kingdom of darkness, would likely be enough to attract a crowd. The end result is a demand for a sign to be given.
The word sign [semeion], often signifies some kind of divine authentication of a spiritual message, or the accompanying signs and wonders, which confirm the message was from the mouth of a messenger of God. But Jesus had already performed what would normally be considered to be a sign [semeion]. Before they even asked, Jesus had healed the man who was deaf and could not speak. Not only that, but Jesus had driven the demons out of the man, so that he was normal again. Was that not enough? Is that not a sign or proof that this man speaking to them was from God? Seemingly not! They required something more. We will investigate the nature of the demand for a sign further.
I never see a bitter person who is thankful, nor a thankful person who is bitter.Leticia Seviraneta
Once you stop living for the praise of others, disapproval doesn’t slow you down.Rick Warren
The turtle only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.Ian Vail
Hurt me with the truth, but never comfort me with a lie.Sherly Hotnida
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it?Rick Godwin