Traveling To Hear
I’m writing this at Gate 28 in JFK airport in NYC. At 9:30PM I board the Delta flight to Amsterdam and then on to Nairobi. Earlier I landed at Laguardia and New York City needs to come up with a better transport from Laguardia to JFK. Man, that bus was hot, and the traffic turned nine miles into more than an hour commute. My travel travails, however, are nothing compared to the Kenyan pastors who will ride their bikes over 25 kilometers both to and from the Truth Encounter pastor conferences. But even these pastors won’t compete with the hassle Jonah had getting to Nineveh or the distance the Queen of Sheba traveled to hear Solomon.
“As the crowds grew, Jesus said, ‘This is an evil generation. It constantly seeks a sign, but no sign will be given except the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, the Son of Man will be a sign to this generation. The Queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here. 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.’” - Luke 11:29-32
Jesus and His Kingdom is the “something” that is infinitely greater than Jonah or Solomon. In Jonah’s Old Testament story the Assyrian capital got down on their knees in sackcloth and ashes when he announced imminent judgment. The Queen of Sheba brought her entire entourage hundreds of miles across the desert just to hear in person Solomon’s wisdom, but the first century crowds who got to hear Jesus, the Author of Wisdom Himself? Not only did they not repent, they crucified Him.
The final judgment Jesus warned about in our scripture today has not come yet. When Jesus rose, instead of executing justice against all who rejected Him, He announced forgiveness to all who simply turned to Him in humility and faith.
In his second volume Luke will show us the Apostle Peter offering to the very crowd who rejected Jesus the opportunity to change their minds about Him.
Like Jonah and the Queen of Sheba I’m traveling. Pray that I will find receptive hearts like the Ninevites and the Queen of Sheba. Pray that the Lord will use us to encourage and equip many pastors who are giving their lives helping others to meet the One far greater than any prophet or human ruler.
LORD, give guidance to the pilots as they fly us across the Atlantic to Amsterdam tonight and then give us safety as we make the next leg to Nairobi. Bring the kind of repentance you created in Nineveh in Kenya. Help me to equip pastors in how they can hear the One who is greater than Solomon in the text of Scripture.
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