It’s a sign.
In our little town at this time of the year there is a ginormous lighted cross at the top of a hill over looking our region of Washington State.
Why is it it there? It’s a sign, it reminds us of an execution that took place about 2000 years ago. A man named Jesus was hung on a cross, literally nailed to a wooden cross, and left there to die. It’s recorded that some men would hang for days. Because of the flogging he received before being nailed to the cross, he died in a few hours. The Jewish leaders of his day had conspired to have him killed. They succeeded.
Gods master plan wasn’t interrupted by the cross of Jesus. Gods master plan was the cross of Jesus. Don’t think for a minute the Jews conspiring to kill this man was an accident. Jesus knew ahead of time what was coming. He knew he would die a death that pain itself was the killer. The victim is slowly suffocated by pain. He knew. And yet he loved us so much, he did it anyway.
“16 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.
2 He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ 3 and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.[a] 4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.”
The sign of Jonah. Jonah was in the fish three days and three nights. Jesus would soon be in the earth 3 days a 3 nights. The fish couldn’t hold Jonah and death will not, did not, can not hold Jesus.
If you added up what Jesus had done in front of these people to this time in his ministry, like feeding 5 thousand the another 4 thousand with a bag of bread and some fish, healing every person who asked for it, raising the dead back to life, walking on water, calming a storm, all of this had already been displayed, then they asked for a sign from heaven.
What nudge are we waiting for in our generation? It’s always Gods love that draws us in. God loves us. He showed us his love in the sign of Jonah. That Jesus was swallowed up by death but he defeated it. He didn’t need to beat death, he is God, but he knew we needed it because death waits for us all. At death we must cash in our chips to pay for all of mistakes, our sins, our selfishness but we don’t have enough. Our pockets are empty at the grave but Jesus not only beat death, he paid for our sin too. His perfect life sacrificially given up pays for it all.
My photo is grainy and blurry, forgive me. If you live in Ephrata look up to the top of Beasley hill tonight, you will see it, there’s a sign there, a sign for each one of us. It’s a cross. God loves us so much that he sent his son to die in our place.