WE ARE NOT ALONE
Loving Lord, I open my heart afresh to you and pray you will fill me with power and poise today.
Read MATTHEW 12:38–50
The Sign of Jonah
38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”
39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 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 something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.
43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”
48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.’1 Give thanks that Jesus was prepared to suffer so much for us.
Why was Jesus angry with the Pharisees and scribes for demanding a sign? It’s unlikely he would have objected if they were genuinely seeking the truth about him, but they were not. After all, there was plenty of evidence out there already: Jesus had just healed a man who was blind and mute right in front of them!
Today’s passage shows that the opposition Jesus faced was not limited to the extreme form he endured in Passion week. He encountered lower levels of resistance too, closer to what most of us will have experienced: the mocking ‘give me some proof’ kind of opposition. Today’s passage also shows that Jesus’ ministry caused tensions with his family. In Mark’s version of this story his mother and brothers want to speak to him because they were concerned about his activities and were worried he was going mad!2 Many of us have also found our faith has not always made sense to our families, causing disagreements.
There is comfort in remembering that Jesus suffered in this way too. It encourages us that when people keep on challenging our faith, this is not necessarily because we have failed to explain the case for Christ well enough. It also reassures us that if our families fail to respond positively to our faith this does not automatically mean there is something wrong with our witness. As Christians will always face this kind of opposition, it’s important also to remember what Jesus says about believers being his brothers and sisters. Our churches are our family in Christ and offer the encouragement we all need in a world that is not always supportive of our faith. How important is church to us and what role can we play in making our Christian family a more supportive one?
Pray for any brothers and sisters in Christ who are in difficult circumstances and need support, and about your role in your Christian church family.
Dear Lord, I need this timely reminder. Devotion to the kingdom of God comes before everything else in life, I must seek your kingdom! It’s my heart’s desire and I need your strength.
1 Isa 53:3 2 Mark 3:20,21
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