The crowd grew larger and larger. Jesus said, “The people who live today are evil. They ask for a miracle as a sign from God. But no miracle will be done to prove anything to them. The only sign will be the miracle that happened to Jonah. Jonah was a sign for those who lived in Nineveh. It is the same with the Son of Man. He will be a sign for the people of this time. “On the judgment day, you people who live now will be compared with the queen of the South, and she will be a witness who shows how guilty you are. Why do I say this? Because she traveled from far, far away to listen to Solomon’s wise teaching. And I tell you that someone greater than Solomon is right here, but you won’t listen! “On the judgment day, you people who live now will also be compared with the people from Nineveh, and they will be witnesses who show how guilty you are. I say this because when Jonah preached to those people, they changed their hearts and lives. And you are listening to someone greater than Jonah, but you refuse to change!”
A COUP FOR THE NINEVITES
Jesus expresses his exasperation with the Hebrews of his day. Here, he compares them unfavorably with the people of Nineveh and a southern queen (the Queen of Sheba). Sheba was a kingdom to the south of Judea, maybe in today’s Yemen or in today’s Ethiopia. Nineveh was an exceptionally large and powerful Mesopotamian city of Gentiles at the time.
God had sent Jonah to preach to the Ninevites, and they did repent. The Queen of Sheba came to Jerusalem to learn when she heard about the wisdom of Solomon. But the Hebrews were proving obstinate in their ways in comparison. For anyone in the audience, Jesus’ words must have come as a shock, for the Hebrews believed they were the chosen people of God, how could mere Gentiles come before them?
They lacked faith comparatively, and the articles of faith such as repentance and the aversion to sin.