If ever we needed an Ash Wednesday …


Later a few religion scholars and Pharisees got on him. “Teacher, we want to see your credentials. Give us some hard evidence that God is in this. How about a miracle?” Matthew 12:38 The Message 

So you are the Messiah? Prove it.

A common response seemingly in any generation.

The earth isn’t the center of the universe. Prove it.

The earth is round. Prove it.

All men are created equal. Prove it.

Your team is better than mine. Prove it.

We want evidence. We want proof.

But here is the problem . . . what will we do, when we are given proof ?

“Show us a sign—then we’ll believe you are the Messiah!” That was the challenge the religious leaders of the day issued to Jesus. They wondered if this man was the Messiah, as some were claiming—and they demanded that He prove it!

What did Jesus do?

He gave them a sign, telling them: “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Matthew 16:4

Another gospel records these words of Jesus: “This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation.”Luke 11:29–30 

Christ’s miracles were amazing signs of God’s power and ministry.

John the Baptist wanted a sign – Jesus said tell Him what you have seen.

What was the sign of Jonah and what does it have to do with us today?

The seemingly obvious answer is the three days. Jesus spent 3 days in the grave. Death, burial, and resurrection will be the sign. But there is also another part to the “sign of Jonah.” Jesus’ call for those in His audience to repent was like Jonah’s call to repentance.

The inhabitants of Nineveh responded to Jonah’s call to repentance:
From the least to the greatest, all turned from their sinful lifestyle. And God saw their works that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that He had said that He would do unto them; and He did it not. Jonah 3:10 KJV 

A call to each of us to repentance comes as we begin our journey towards Easter.

Tonight, we take on a sign – A sign of the cross taken from the Ashes of our celebration.

It is easy to get caught up in the hype of Lent. Yes, I said hype of Lent as we declare with loud voices, “I gave up this . . . I gave up that . . .”

Hear the hype talking? That is not Lent. Lent is not a period of time where we replace a vice with the declaration that we are doing good.

Lent is an inward journey – a journey of reflection – a journey of choices.

And so today, we make a choice – A choice to believe – A choice to seek – A choice to journey to Easter.  On Our journey to Easter we will see many signs. Our journey will culminate as we witness the one sign Jesus spoke of – the sign of Jonah – resurrection.

Some will see the signs and choose to believe.

Some will see the signs and still question.

It is your choice.

Jonah had a choice – initially he ran.

His second chance (and his response) created a great revival.

Now is your chance.

What will you do?


I am a United Methodist Pastor and have the privilege of serving as the Senior Pastor for the church of my childhood. I preach in a place I once was an acolyte. I love to preach, but more importantly I love to teach. I firmly believe that Faith Matters and should affect how we live. This blog is a place where I come to share the randomness that is life and faith ... and the intersection of the two.

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