Thursday after Invocavit
Scripture: St. Luke 11:29-36 (NKJV)
29 And while the crowds were thickly gathered together, He began to say, “This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. 30 For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation. 31 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. 32 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.
33 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light. 34 The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. 35 Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. 36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.”
Everybody wants a sign. The atheist demands a sign that proves God’s existence. The American Evangelical wants a sign of what decision he should make. The anxious and despondent crave a visible sign of God’s favor to quell the fiery rage of doubt. Everybody, at some point, seeks a sign that God is present and that He is graciously disposed to us.
The Christian is not to seek any sign for God’s existence or favor outside of the one sign God gives: the sign of Jonah. Jesus is the greater Jonah Who preaches not just repentance from your sins but the Gospel that forgives those sins! He is the greater Jonah Who was consigned not to the belly of a fish but to the belly of the earth for three days, having died to atone for the sins of the entire world. Whereas Jonah comes in the reek of fish vomit and death, Jesus comes in the scent of love and compassion for sinners lost in their way.
You don’t need a sign of God’s favor. He has given you His Only-Begotten Son into death as your savior from your sin and your sinfulness. There is no need to look for signs of God’s goodness in the changes and chances of this life. In His mercy Christ gives you even more visible signs of His gracious favor. He washes you with water and Word, He speaks to you through your pastor, and He puts His body and blood on your lips. Christ in Word and Sacrament is the only sign He gives, and the only sign we need.
O Lord, mercifully hear our prayer and stretch forth the right hand of Thy majesty to defend us from them that rise up against us; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.