“As the crowds increased, Jesus said, ‘This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous 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. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.’” (Luke 11:29–32, NIV84)
One more wise than Solomon and more powerful with words than Jonah was in the presence of these people, and they were unaffected by His work. Their hearts were so closed off to the truth that when Truth itself was standing in front of them, they did not recognize Him. Wisdom itself was laying pearls before them and their hard-heartedness was deafening their ears to hear. There are two things that come to mind as I think of these verses.
First, everyone must stand before Christ and account for their acceptance or rejection of Him. How we feel or what we conclude doesn’t change that He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. Regardless of what an individual believes about Jesus, he will end up in judgment before Him. And who will be there in judgment? The people of Nineveh were evil and corrupt but recognized in the preaching of Jonah the voice of Truth and repented of their sins. They will be saying to those who reject Jesus, “We repented from our sin after hearing God’s Word preached to us from a reluctant preacher (Jonah). How could you not repent after hearing the same message preached from God Himself?”
Second, I think that our most significant obstacle to hearing and understanding the truth of God’s Word is ourselves. We are so entrenched into our own frame of reference that we are unwilling to hear the truth. We are so convinced that we get it, that we sense all other thoughts as a threat to our perception of reality. But what if our perception is wrong? Jesus said, “If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear!” (Mark 4:23). We need to be open to the Holy Spirit’s prodding that there might be another perspective. Jesus came to proclaim the truths of the kingdom of God to us so that we might gain life and salvation through His words.
“Father, remove any and all obstacles that stand in the way of us hearing you clearly!”