Luke 11 v 29. “As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah”.

In verse 16 of this chapter the people asked for a sign from heaven. This passage we consider today picks up from that verse.

In some ways the request for a sign is understandable because the claims with which Christ faced his contemporaries would have massive consequences for them. So there is nothing intrinsically wrong with a request for a miraculous sign. The problem was not the sign but the people, there was indeed something seriously wrong with them. Jesus states it in verse 29: “This is a wicked generation …”.

It is true of course that all generations are evil; indeed all of us are inherently evil, but it is also true that one generation can be more evil than another. In this regard Christ’s generation was indeed evil. Their request for a sign in v 16 was a form of testing, or tempting Christ, according to Luke. They were not sincere. They were not looking for logical proof that Christ’s power was supernatural. Everybody knew it was supernatural. But what they wanted was proof that Christ’s power was from God and not the devil.

This is, of course, an important matter, which we all need to be sensitive to, in an age of religious scams, false prophets, healers and so on. Mere supernatural power, by itself is not necessarily good. We need to trace its roots and seek to find out the moral and spiritual origins of displays of supernatural power before we allow ourselves to be influenced by it.

So why did Christ turn them down in such a serious fashion? There are many good reasons as we shall see tomorrow.