Luke 11:27–32

Read the passage.

While Jesus was talking about demons and the state of people’s souls, a woman calls out a blessing on His mother. It seems to me like an odd time for it, but perhaps she really enjoyed what Jesus was saying. Or maybe she was trying to change the subject. In any carse, Jesus responds by saying it is better to be blessed by keeping God’s word.

Jesus moves on to address the insincere requests for Him to perform a sign. It’s hard to tell if this was immediately after the previous teaching, later that day, or some other time. All we know is “when the crowds were increasing.” (v. 29) He tells them that the only sign they would get is the sign of Jonah, alluding to the three days the prophet spent inside the fish, cut off from the world. In the same way, Jesus would spend three days in a tomb to then emerge preaching a message of repentance.

However, the queen of Ethiopia and the men of Ninevah from Jonah’s time will both rise up and condemn the Jews of Jesus’s day at the time of judgement. Each of them responded to God’s message correctly, and they did not have as much knowledge and resources available to them as the Jews did. King Solomon did not perfectly follow God’s commands in acquiring wives and wealth, to his detriment, but the queen of Ethiopia still came a great distance to learn the wisdom God had given him. Jonah was a rebellious, racist prophet, and yet the Ninevites listened to God’s call for repentance through him. How bad will it be for the Jews who heard the very Son of God Himself speak directly to them and reject Him?

How bad will it be for us, who have the entirety of Scriptures translated into our native languages, updated every few years, with instant access to it and also to the writings of the greatest minds who have studied it for millenia, and still don’t pay attention to it?

Have mercy on us, for we deserve all the judgements You have promised.

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