The Sign of Jonah
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, ‘Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.’ But he answered them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was for three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth.
Reflection by Duke Yaguchi
The religious leaders of the day had their doubts about Jesus being the Messiah. They thought of Him as a false prophet and feared losing their power and authority. So they tested Jesus. It would have been easy enough for Jesus to perform a miracle for them. He healed the sick and walked on water to calm his disciples. But those miracles were done out of love and compassion. Had Jesus performed one at this time, it would have been to show power and maybe done in spite. Instead, Jesus uses the opportunity to speak of his crucifixion and resurrection. However, it is done in a manner that could not be understood until after it has occurred.
Sometimes, when our kids are going to do something wrong, we tell them not to do it. We want to keep them from harm, or harming others, or teach them right from wrong. But sometimes, we have already told them. When the choice presents itself, we sometimes let them choose. When they choose badly, they learn for themselves the consequences of those choices. Sometimes, experience is the better teacher. I think that's part of Jesus' message. He foretells things, but still God lets us stumble and fall. It is in reflection that we learn.
Another aspect of this scripture is Jesus showing us that God isn't here to serve us or to be called upon request. Sure we pray for a million things every day. But God answers in His way in His time. Likewise, Jesus says He will provide proof of his proclamation, but it won't be immediate. It'll be at a time of God's choosing. So not only do we have to be looking for signs from God, but often, we have to be patient as well.
Dear Lord, I am weary of this pandemic. I want it to disappear so that we can go on with our lives. But if this is a sign, let me reflect on it. Let me reflect on the stillness, the slowing down of life. Help me turn the limitations on my life as a sign to focus on what is important: loving You and loving others. Help me turn my harrumphs into ahs of contentment in the quietness of this pandemic. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.