"This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation." Luke 11:29-30
While teaching a Sunday School class years ago, the Holy Spirit effectually used this passage of Scripture to bring one of the class members to salvation. The man was one of the most faithful members of our class but was not a believer. During one of our visits, he informed me the reason he came and brought his family was so his sons would grow up to be "good" young men; to know right from wrong. About six months later, I received a call from him with the news he had been born again. He told me that after one of our visits, he began to pray for a specific sign from God. While reading this passage, the Holy Spirit convicted him of the fact that he was rejecting the signs he had been given.
The people to whom Jesus was speaking, amidst all the signs and evidence, still wanted something more. In Luke 11:14-16, the people marveled at the fact that a man who was mute was able to speak after Jesus cast out a demon. But, being unwilling to accept Jesus for who He was, they accredited Beelzebul with the power behind His ability. With irrefutable logic, Jesus makes the obvious point that if Satan is casting out his own demons his kingdom will fail. However, if Jesus was casting these demons out by the "finger of God" they should accept the fact Satan's kingdom was being attacked by One who was stronger.
In Luke 11:29-32, as the crowd grew, Jesus, knowing their thoughts (Luke 11:17), addresses this desire for signs from heaven. "This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus says Gentiles, the people of Nineveh and the queen of the South, will condemn the Israelites of this generation. God had given them evidence greater than the miracle of Jonah and the wisdom of Solomon, yet they refused to accept Jesus. John 1:9-11 says, "The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him." Jesus the "true light," the true and perfect sign from heaven was insufficient for that generation of Israelites.
In Luke 11:33-36, Jesus' analogy of the eye being the lamp that provides light/insight for life helps us understand His previous admonition to "behold/see" the One greater than Jonah and Solomon. The Light of the world was shining brightly for that generation of Israelites, yet there were many who willfully, hard-hardheartedly refused to accept Him. Jesus' command in verse 35 (NLT), "Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness," was not only intended for those first-century hearers but us as well.
In the NLT, the next verse says, "If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.” Don't those of us who profess Jesus as the "light of the world" need Him to shine in the dark corners of our lives? Don't we want our whole lives to be radiant examples of His light filling us?
Holy Spirit, just as You used Your Word to convict my friend and brother, please use it to convict me about those dark corners of my life that desperately need the light of the Gospel. Lord Jesus, may Your light truly be the light of my life.