He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. – Matt. 12:39 NIV
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Jesus had just began to lay the foundation for his ministry by providing knowledge for better understanding of the laws of Jehovah. The people had no doubt been eager to observe all the instructions of Jehovah, but it was obvious that they lacked complete knowledge and interpretation of what they were trying to observe. He had provided them the opportunity to have a better understanding of the protocols around the observance of the Sabbath day (Matt. 12:1-14), and also attempted to let them have a better understanding of who he was and what the source of the power behind his spiritual actions was – Matt. 12:22-37. The Pharisees in their mischief, were however not willing, to accept such claims as they will rather continue to ask for proof upon proof. One of those occasions of their demand for proof was captured by Levi, also known as Matthew in the twelfth chapter of the biblical book named after him – Matt. 12:38.
Jesus Christ, rather than suck up to their mischief, decided to ignore their endless request, and in the foundation scripture for today’s Devotional, described them as belonging to a wicked and adulterous generation, who keep asking for evidence – Matt. 12:39. That is where they surely belong, as it is obvious that their request for evidence was not due to a sincere desire to be convinced before taking an action like Gideon (Judges 6:36-40), but a deliberate act of mischief on their part, in order to avoid doing the right thing. They had witnessed many events and occurrences sufficient to help them arrive at a conclusion, but more likely because of their desire for a particular conclusion to be arrived at, they chose rather to pretend to require more evidence to convince them of the divinity of Jesus Christ. Of course, they will accept to be convinced, if an event that will support their pre-determined conclusion was to occur, one that they never got and will never get, in relation to Jesus Christ. They earnestly wanted an evidence to discredit him so that they can continue in those acts which are considered as wickedness before Jehovah, and that will also justify their decision to worship another god aside from Jehovah. They are wicked and deceitful but are pretending to seek for evidence to justify the need to worship Jehovah exclusively, when the truth is that they desire to be idolatrous and continue with their acts of spiritual adultery.
Jesus Christ was not going to justify their hypocrisy and deceit with attempts aimed at convincing them further, choosing rather to remind them of the sign provided by the existence of Jonah in the belly of a fish for three days, because of his refusal to acknowledge and heed the instruction of Jehovah. He was sure that even the people of Nineveh in all their recorded stubbornness would have repented if they had seen a fraction of what the people asking him for more signs have witnessed.
That people today, Christians inclusive are behaving in a similar manner is not arguable. They keep expecting signs at every turn, from Jehovah, to justify His expectation of them that He is the one god to be worshipped and that Jesus Christ is His anointed saviour for mankind. Human beings behave like they are about to do Him a favour if they choose to worship Him, and so He will need to justify receiving that favour from them.
This is not to say that the concept of seeking evidence to convince one, before implementing any action is wrong, but it becomes a different thing completely when, such is living in abundant evidence and is still pretending not to be convinced. Pretend! Yes, because the demand for evidence seems to be associated with the need for some other demands made in prayer to be granted. Meanwhile, the acknowledgement of His personality after the receipt of a request is easily thrashed, once the same individual has another demand that is yet to be granted. It is at such times that phrases like, “if you are indeed the true god”, are slotted in between prayer lines, in a manner similar to that which the devil used when he was tempting Jesus Christ (Lk. 4:1-13), like Jehovah needs to prove Himself always by granting all requests on each occasion, before He will be acknowledged as the El-Shaddai or Elohim.
The very sincere person has enough evidence all around, to take a decision on whom to serve. To request that He provides evidence, either directly or indirectly to justify his expectation that He alone should be worshipped by man can only, at best, be mischievous but more of wickedness against Him. It is an attempt to pitch Him against other gods, in what seems like He is in a competition to prove His superiority and relevance. That is surely disrespectful of His person.
Whether He has provided what you call evidence or not, He deserves your absolute respect and loyalty. Not acknowledging Him in that manner will only earn you His wrath, because He does not require your approval for Him to be Sovereign God that He clearly is, just as your comfort (or discomfort) will have no impact whatsoever on His reputation as God. He must be worshipped because He is indeed the only God.
Stop seeking for proof, before devoting your life to Him. All that the people of Nineveh heard was that Jonah was in the fish for three days and they believed him and his message (Jonah 3:1-10), and repented, just as the Queen of the South only heard about the wisdom of Solomon from other witnesses and later directly, to acknowledge Him as a wise king – 1Kgs. 10:1-13. You have not only heard but have also experienced his numerous miraculous interventions in your life. You do not need any further proof to know and acknowledge that indeed He is a great God. Doing that will bring honour to Him but you stand to gain more because then He will straighten your paths – Prov. 3:6. May God grant us the sincerity to know and acknowledge Him as the Sovereign God in Jesus name. Amen.