In this PODCAST, so many, many questions will be answered.
How do we know there is a God? Why does the Bible say that all people are without excuse?
How did people in the Old Testament get “saved”? What about people who have never heard of Jesus before? Just to name a few!!!
Open your ears. Open your eyes. Most importantly, open your heart. You will be amazed at all that you are about to learn!!!
First off, let’s read Matthew 12:38-39 (AMP):
38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, Teacher, we desire to see a sign or miracle from You [proving that You are what You claim to be].
39 But He replied to them, An evil and adulterous generation (a generation morally unfaithful to God) seeks and demands a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.
Now, keep in mind that leading up to this stage of Jesus’ ministry, he had just performed a flurry of miracles out in the open – seen by all – culminating in casting out a demon from a man and healing him from being blind and mute. And the people who witnessed it were amazed!
Yet, when the religious leaders asked for yet another sign that He was God, Jesus refused. He knew that one more miracle would not convince these people, but they were actually looking for ways to destroy him.
But Jesus didn’t just stop at denying them another miracle that day. He invoked a pair of Old Testament references that certainly smacked them between the eyes. He brought up Jonah and the Queen of Sheba. The Queen of Sheba?… well, he actually mentions that a tiny bit later in verse 42:
The queen of Sheba will also stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for she came from a distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Now someone greater than Solomon is here—but you refuse to listen.
Now, most people remember the story of Jonah – the prophet who refused to listen to God at first and then was “redirected” in the belly of a whale-size fish. But the Queen of Sheba? For a little insight into what Jesus was getting at in verse 42, we can actually look at Paul’s letter to the Romans 1:18
For God’s holy wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative.
In other words, the objects of God’s wrath will be those people who know God’s truth, yet they render it inoperative – they snuff it out. You see, the religious leaders of Jesus’ day (and all of us today) have no excuse for not knowing Jesus. Creation alone screams His creative genius and magnificent power.
In Don Richardson’s Book Peace Child, the missionary shares the story of encountering cannibalistic head hunters in New Guinea. Don and his family were faced every day with danger, disease and the risk of offending the wrong person and being beheaded. So, for the first several months, he simply lived within their village, painstakingly learning their ways and language with the plan to learn enough to explain to them who Jesus was and God’s plan for their eternity. Oddly enough, when he finally learned enough to tell Jesus’ story, they applauded when he told them about Judas’ betrayal since betrayal was celebrated in their culture, and they applauded again when he spoke of Jesus’ crucifixion, as if they wish that they would have thought of such a torturous way of killing.
Don was crushed, to say the least. In his words:
“In their eyes, Judas, not Jesus, was the hero of the Gospels, Jesus was just the dupe to be laughed at.”
How could a Christian missionary break through to a people with this askew of a moral compass?
Don and his family were about to give up and return home when he was called upon to help negotiate peace between two tribes that were at war in that region. They came up with this solution: one tribe would hand over a newborn baby boy to be raised by the other. So long as this “peace child” lived, there would be peace between the two tribes.
This is exactly what God did. We (mankind) were at war with His holy nature. He offered His Son (Jesus) to us. And, as long as Jesus lives, there can be peace between us and God. Or, as Don Richardson put it:
“…their way of making peace required a father in one of two warring villages to make an incredible sacrifice. He had to be willing to give one of his own children as a peace child to his enemies. Caroline and I saw this happen, and we saw the peace that resulted from a man’s wonderful sacrifice of his own son. That enabled me to proclaim Jesus as the greatest peace child given by the greatest father.”
50 years later, these tribes are now a thriving Christian community sprouting from this redemptive analogy. Don learned that around the globe, no matter how cut off from “civilization” a people group may be, there is a redemptive analogy embedded into their hearts and culture.
Just like the entire Old Testament that the religious leaders of Jesus’ day studied and knew so well. They knew the story of Abraham taking his son, Isaac, up the hill for the sacrifice. They knew the story of Joseph being betrayed by his brothers and sold to the Ishmaelites. They knew the stories of Daniel and David. They knew the tropes that pointed to Jesus, Himself.
So, when Jesus referred to Jonah and the Queen of Sheba, what He said to them was… (something that we’ll discuss next week).
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