1 Timothy 5
“The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment…and condemn it…now something greater than Jonah is here. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment…and condemn it…now something greater than Solomon is here.”
Cultural awareness, racial sensitivity and speaking about racism is actually wed to the very gospel. At The Peoples Church (Toronto, Canada), we have been leaning into an initiative we refer to as “Make Us One,” where we look at the beauty of diversity of the church and living in the oneness that Jesus invites us into when we enter into His Body. While this is a wonderful thing that we are striving for, as we look back over church history, we cannot ignore the fact that racism and bias are evident throughout church history even to this day. As we lean into these conversations, some people become uncomfortable, saying there is no reason to have racial conversations inside the church because this is for those outside the church. This mentality is what Jesus points His finger to in the life of the Pharisees.
If there is a bias, a prejudice or an outright racist behaviour in us, Jesus will lift that to the surface of our lives so that He can heal us of it. He will diagnose the disease within our hearts. He did it with the Pharisees, confronting them of the sin embedded in their theology. Jesus says, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah….The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here” (Matthew 12:39-42).
Jesus confronts the flawed theology of the Pharisees, shakes their belief in Jewish dominance on all things God and calls out their anti-Gentile perspective by telling them that they will be condemned by the very Gentiles that they think they stand in judgment over.
Notice why the Ninevites and the Queen of the South will stand in judgment over that generation and condemn it. The Ninevites repented at the preaching of Jonah, and the Queen of the South marvelled at the wisdom of Solomon, but the Pharisees despised and rejected the Son of God. Jesus says the One greater than Jonah is here; the One greater than Solomon is here. He who is greater than all the Old Testament heroes and prophets combined is being despised and rejected by the very people who ought to know better.
Is Jesus greater than anything in our lives?
Lord Jesus, You are greater than anything. You are the Word of God, the Wisdom of God and the Witness of God. Thank You for being all that You are. Amen!