Today's Reading: Isaiah 55:1-9
A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed. (Matthew 16:4)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Jesus points the Pharisees and Sadducees to the sign of Jonah, His death and resurrection. And for His disciples, if they still harbored any doubt this is what He was talking about, following His resurrection, "He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, 'Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.'”
Later the apostle Paul would similarly write to the Corinthian church, “Jews request a sign ... but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block...but to those who are called...Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
When o ur confidence in God vanishes, fears overwhelm us, and we can’t shake the feeling that maybe God’s nursing a grudge for some offense we’ve given or He’s angry because we’ve let something go we should’ve paid better attention to, we don't need to go searching for some sign of God's attitude toward us. We have a clear sign and certain assurance that He loves us as a Father loves His dear children. We know this for certain because we have Jesus' cross where He died for all our sins and His resurrection from the dead for our justification. Here is our sure sign that God is well-pleased with us because of what Jesus has done.
We don't need blazing red sunsets or thundering storm clouds to show us what God is up to. We have the sign of Jonah! We have Jesus. Further, the cross is laid on us in baptism as a sign that we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Faithful cross, true sign of triumph. Be for all the noblest tree; None in foliage, none in blossom, None in fruit thine equal be; Symbol of the world's redemption, For the weight that hung on thee! (LSB 454:4)
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