Living with the End in View involves
Finding Someone Greater than Jonah
The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. (Luke 11:32–33)
The men of Jesus’ day wanted proof that He was sent by God. So what sign or miracle would He provide? Jesus pointed the people’s attention to Jonah, at whose preaching the Ninevites, a Gentile people who were Israel’s enemies, repented. The Ninevites did not enjoy the benefits of the Word of God as did the Israelites, which had God-raised preachers sent to explain the way of life, the Spirit to move men to mighty acts, and the promises of the Almighty to establish a nation well-pleasing to God.
What indignation will fill the Ninevites when they stand before a generation which had the benefits they lacked, and condemn it! The Ninevites repented at the preaching of a man who disliked them, who gloatingly preached a single message of the coming judgment upon their nation in forty days. What will the Ninevites think when they stand before a people who heard the words of a man who loved them, who preached the truth at all times, and was soon to give His life to save the nation? How many more miracles did Jesus need to perform to prove the kingdom of God had come into their midst? How many more promises and directions did God have to provide in their Scriptures to indicate that this was the Christ, the Savior of the world?
Jonah was in the belly of a large fish for three days for his own sin of rebellion. Jesus was in the tomb for three days for the sins of the whole world.
Why did the people ask for a sign? Jesus gave a good reason when He said, “For the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them” (Matt. 13:15). God’s Word gives life to those who accept it. The majority of the people were too insensitive to the things of God to accept Jesus’ words of life. So they wanted more, such as a sign.
I remember when I felt following the Bible’s teachings did not satisfy. I thought reading secular writers and philosophers could give me more insight into life. So I quit pursuing Christ as my first love, and far from building a sound relationship based on trust in His promises, I was looking for spiritual feelings. Like the Pharisees, my ears had grown hard of hearing when it came to discerning the promptings of the Spirit, and my heart had hardened when it came to responding to the Lord’s sacrifice on Calvary. So my itching ears craved more than the Word of God. I wanted a sign, a mystical experience.
Those early times in my life of the famine of the Word (Amos 8:11) were important times of testing. They showed me how quickly I could depart from the Lord and seek substitutes.
What could be a greater sign that we must follow Christ wholeheartedly than the love of God seen on the cross of Calvary? Which of your heroes had died for your sins? A greater hero is here. What is the greatest gift your friends can offer you? A greater than that is offered here. Which of your pleasures can compare to the promise of eternal life to come? The Resurrection and the Life is here.
Jonah fulfilled his purpose, for his time. Now a greater than Jonah is here. Let’s not miss the Christ as the Israelites did. Let’s choose the better part and sit at His feet and listen. Only then will we fulfill our purpose, for our time.
Living with the end in view means finding no substitute for Jesus.
Steps of faith:
Stir up heart to worship in spirit and truth.
Re-evaluate where you are seeking answers.
Selection from Living with the End in View, Book 1, Steve Husting