The hypocritical Pharisees were asking Lord Jesus for a sign.
They just witnessed Lord Jesus delivered a demon possessed blind and mute man(12:22)
Pharisees attributed the healing of blind and mute man by the power of demons not by God's power.
Verse 24 acts as the backdrop to the present scripture portion.
Knowing their thoughts Lord Jesus had a lengthy discourse for the benefit of such unbelieving people (Pharisees).
The same people were asking the Lord for a sign.
Another miracle would not have changed their minds in any way possible.
Lord Jesus knowing their hearts refused to give them a sign.
But HE thought the sign of the prophet Jonah would be the best to give them.
In the Bible, a sign is something that people can see with their own eyes and believe.
In the Christmas story the angel said to the shepherds “this will be a sign for you”.
The angel was talking about a Savior being born to a virgin in Bethlehem.
The sign is that the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
When the shepherds saw the baby boy they understood the sign and believed.
‘This generation’ in Lord’s view is the unbelieving people of all generations.
The sign of Jonah applies to all people who reject the Lord Jesus as Savior.
Whoever rejects Lord as Savior falls into this category of people in any generation or in any period of time.
The book of Jonah in the Minor Prophets is considered as Scripture for the Jews.
They believe that prophet Jonah was in the belly of the fish for 3 days because of his disobedience.
By giving this sign the Lord is predicting the future events associated with HIS death, burial and resurrection.
Lord Jesus was in the grave for 3 days and rose again from the dead.
The sign of Jonah is associated with the resurrection of our Lord Jesus.
Verse 41 focuses on the repentance of people of Nineveh.
The people of Nineveh believed in the preaching of Jonah.
Jonah 3:4 “He proclaimed; forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned”
The entire city repented including the king “for their evil ways and their violence”.
The believing people of Nineveh will be a testimony on the Day of Judgment.
Nineveh example will condemn the Jews of Jesus time for their unbelief and missed opportunity in their life time.
Multiple opportunities were given to people of today to hear the Gospel but still people continue to reject.
Lord Jesus says HE is greater than Prophet Jonah.
Jonah was a reluctant prophet disobeyed God first and forced to go to Nineveh.
Jonah ministered to only one city which he never loved.
Lord Jesus is greater because HE is a compassionate Lord and obedient to HIS death.
He is greater because HE loved the whole world and gave HIS life for everyone.
HE is greater because HE is giving them the sign of Jonah even before HIS resurrection.
Another important figure in Old Testament is King Solomon – famous for his wisdom.
Queen from the south believed in her heart that Solomon got wisdom from above – she traveled a long distance to hear him.
A Gentile woman, living in a foreign and distant land, came all the way to hear Solomon’s wise discourses.
The Jews had a greater opportunity to hear the discourses of Lord Jesus and witnessed many miracles before their eyes.
Yet they ridiculed HIM, rejected HIM as the Messiah, and blasphemed HIS miracles and despised HIS ministry.
Queen from the south will stand as a great condemnation to all such unbelieving Jews.
Lord Jesus is greater than Solomon because Jews rejected the wisdom of Christ.
People of Nineveh and the Queen of Sheba will judge the Jews of Jesus' day because they showed less interest and willingness to accept HIM.
The Jews of Jesus time had a much greater opportunity to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Lord Jesus is declaring to all generations who continue to reject the Gospel of salvation will never be forgiven because they are sinning against the Holy Spirit.
Today our generation has the greatest opportunity of all times to hear the Gospel of Lord Jesus Christ.
Whoever reject the gospel of forgiveness of sins through the blood of Lord Jesus will have no excuse at all for all the missed opportunities they had in their lifetime.
My friend, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ that HE died for you and paid the price of your sin on the cross and gave the salvation of your soul as a free gift.
Will you accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior?