A Reflection on Luke 11:29-32
“While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, ‘This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.'”
What “sign” are you looking for? So many today are looking for some external reason to believe. It wasn’t different when Jesus lived and walked the earth. All throughout the Gospels people are always asking for “proof,” for “signs,” or something that inspires awe and wonder that they might believe (See John 6:25). Jesus condemns the hardness of heart by those who follow Him. Jesus calls them “an evil generation.” EVIL! Wow! That’s pretty harsh. Are we evil simply because we need a little proof, a little sign, or a little something special to make us believe? Maybe this story will help a bit.
My sons are quite amazing. I love those guys so much! And my wife loves them almost as much as I do! My son, Mark, says to me yesterday, “Dad, if you loved me you would buy me that 550 chord bracelet with a compass!” Mark is no doubt loved by my wife and I, but for him, because of his narrowness of vision and lack of reflection, he hinges our love on a particular act. He wants a sign. If you love me, you would…
My job as a parent is to help Mark see that my love for him is so much greater than His desire for this sign. Narrowness of vision is not his fault, but is rather my job. My job is to help him see that I go to work everyday and spend a great deal of time to put a roof over his head, give him a bed to sleep in, clothes on his back, shoes on his feet, books to read, a fire in the fireplace, and food on the table. My wife’s love is revealed in her keeping our house and his bedroom clean, doing dishes non stop, constant reminding and discipline, cleaning and folding piles of laundry, learning about and cooking good and healthy food, giving baths, and the list goes on. There are a thousand signs a day that reveal mine and my wife’s love for Mark…AND HE WANTS A SIGN! The problem is not that there are not signs but that my son is blind to the signs that already exist and are abundant! Would that at every moment my son might see our every effort, every worry, every, concern, and every moment spent on their behalf as a sign of our deep love for him (and his brother, Luke, too!).
And the same is true for us. The problem is not that God is not blessing us abundantly at every moment, but instead that we fail to recognize all the blessings in our life. We are too busy to reflect on all of the signs of God’s love all around us! Our great bodies, and minds, and family. Our great education system, government, and resources! Our great freedoms, and rights, and opportunities! All of these great things are amazing blessings! And we, like my son Mark, are too often unaware of these and other gifts, too often ungrateful, and are too often not thankful. Yes, an evil and ungrateful generation we are indeed. Our lives should be filled with praise and thanksgiving, but are instead filled with anxiety, hostility, and unfaithfulness to the Great Gift Giver.
Our Lord did indeed give us and every generation that sign of God’s love that would trump every other sign that could be given–His very life. God’s own Son was sacrificed on our behalf. For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that all who believed in Him might not perish but have eternal life. (JN 3:16) What sign were we looking for again? What proof do we need? Even the Queen of Sheba (a non Jew) traversed land and see to hear the wisdom of Solomon, to learn from him that she too might know and see. Should we do less?
Forgive us, Father, for we are forgetful and blind. Open our eyes to see your abundant blessings, and give us minds to reflect and give thanks. As we journey through this season of Lent, let us always seek your truth, and experience your abiding presence and blessing in our lives. Help us to never forget.