Jodi and I got our 5k in first thing in the morning. It always feels good to get out there and get it done right away.
I also have a longstanding Monday afternoon running agreement with Derrick Miller, who has been the multiple-year winner of the Jeff Polen Music Ministry 5k and Musik Fest race, and just an all-around good guy. We typically run about 6.2 miles together each Monday afternoon when we are both in town.
Daily Run: My first run of the day, with my bride, was the classic “Triangle Route”. We must have picked up the pace a little bit, because we ran it slightly faster than usual. We ended up running 3.35 miles in 29 minutes and 39 seconds, which was an average pace of 8:50 per mile. Jodi has really been doing great with her running.
For the second run, Derrick and I ran 6.2 miles in 45 minutes and 2 seconds, which was an average pace of 7:14 per mile. It was a nice, little jog.
Daily Bible Reading: Today we were reading Matthew 10-12. The part that stood out to me the most today was in Matthew 12.
“…an evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”Matthew 12:39-40, ESV
There are primarily two things that stick out to me about this passage.
First, Jesus describes the people who are seeking a “sign” from him as evil and adulterous. How fascinating. Aren’t signs and wonders a good thing? Wasn’t Jesus performing miracles practically everywhere that He went? Wasn’t He empowering His disciples to do the same?
Look at the sending of the twelve Apostles in chapter 10. Jesus sent them out and instructed them to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons. (see Matthew 10:5-8)
Clearly there is nothing wrong or evil about God performing signs and wonders in the midst of His people. So why did Jesus call these particular sign-seekers “evil and adulterous”?
I believe it has to do with the posture of their hearts. Of course, only God knows the heart, so I am only speculating, but it seems to me that these Scribes and Pharisees were not looking for signs and wonders for the purpose of glorifying God. Rather, they were challenging God to prove Himself.
Earlier in the chapter we saw the Pharisees conspiring against Jesus, trying to figure out how to destroy him (see Matthew 12:14), now they seem to be taunting Him, testing Him, but certainly not trusting Him. They hate Him. They want Him to be destroyed.
It is interesting, then, that in responding to their challenge Jesus mentions the prophet Jonah as the only sign He will show them.
Jonah was a prophet who was sent to a group of people whom He hated. God loved them, and He wanted them to repent, but Jonah hated them, and he wanted them to be destroyed.
At first, Jonah tried to run from the task that God had given him. By his own admission, he tried to flee not because he was afraid, but because he knew God was gracious and merciful, abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster (see Jonah 4:2). In short, Jonah did not want the people to be saved. He did not want God to show them mercy.
Now here we are in Matthew 12, and Jesus draws from the story of Jonah to reveal the state of the Scribes and Pharisees hearts. Unknowingly, they were acting just like Jonah. They were trying to keep the broken, the bruised, the sinners from flocking to Jesus, and thereby finding the same grace, mercy, and steadfast love that the Ninevites received from God generations before.
The second thing I want to point out, though it is mostly unrelated to the first point, comes from the same passage. Simply put: Jesus verified the story of Jonah being in the belly of a great fish for three days and three nights.
Especially in recent years, there has been a big, “enlightened” push to say that certain parts of the Bible are true and certain parts are not. I am unsure of just what kind of person feels themself qualified to distinguish between the two, but I find this to be incredibly dangerous.
In fact, I am convinced that the hardest statement to accept in the entire Bible is Genesis 1:1.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.Genesis 1:1, ESV
If you can believe that, then there is really nothing in the rest of the Bible that should be too difficult for you to believe.
On many occasions throughout the years I have heard incredibly gifted pastors, speakers, and theologians declare the story of Jonah to be untrue. I humbly but wholeheartedly disagree. Apparently, according to Matthew 12, so does Jesus.