We need God’s help to interpret the times that we belong to. Human opinion may forecast the coming of rocket mail and many unsinkable Titanic developments. What does Jesus mean when he challenges the ability to interpret the times? If we are able to read the signs of the times accurately, what will this mean?

          1.     See what God sees
          2.     Admit to our ignorance
          3.     Embrace the change God brings

Jesus’ own nation did not see what God was doing. Most were too secure and smug in their opinions to change and welcome the Messiah in their midst.

The Pharisees saw Jesus’ miracles and heard all the opinion polls. Thinking themselves to be the ruling authority and the critical thinkers on all things religious, they challenged the Rabbi to present some convincing evidence. They asked Jesus to do something miraculous to prove His point. Their request was based in the belief that He was a fraud.

Matthew 12:
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.

The sign of Jonah is resurrection. Like Jonah, Jesus would be committed to death and rise up three days later.

The prophet Jonah rejected God’s call to preach in Nineveh and ran in the opposite direction to get away from God. On a storm-tossed boat he requested to be thrown into the ocean in order for the sailors to be spared by God. Instead of drowning, a monstrously large fish swallowed him whole. 

For three days he was in the belly of the fish until being expelled at shore. Jonah survived and went to Nineveh to tell the city about God’s mercy.

The Pharisees and teachers would receive one undeniable sign from Heaven. Jesus would rise from the dead and his teaching and ministry would continue.

In the final judgment there will come true critical thinking on their opinions. The 120,000 who found God’s mercy at Nineveh will shake their heads at the Pharisees. They will vote against them. Jonah was a flawed man and God still used him to see the salvation of a city. Jesus’ obedience and character exceeds every other messenger of God.

Sheba was the queen of the south. She came to visit King Solomon on a spiritual quest. She had heard that he was wiser than anyone in the things of God.

Solomon had wise answers for her most difficult questions and she became convinced of his integrity. Sheba will be at the judgment with two thumbs down toward the critics of Jesus. She will recognize that Jesus’ wisdom far exceeds that of Solomon.