The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign?Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” Then he left them, got into the boat again, went off to the other shore.
Jesus had just fed four thousand and still the pharisees are asking for a sign. Was that not sufficient.
Pharisees demand for a sign was enough a sign for Jesus that they were not in line with him. They were not willing to see what he was doing and preaching as signs.
Jesus’ own life was a sign of God’s kingdom. And their own idea of kingdom was different from that of Jesus.
Their demand for a sign is like that of the temptation of Satan. In the temptation stories he argues with the Satan using the word of God and at the end he asks the Satan to move off from him.
Here in this dispute he refuses to argue with them and he moves off.
Asking for a sign is as good as tempting God. Instead we have to see the hand of God in the daily events of the day.
A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured. Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all. And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said… (Lk 6,17-20)
Jesus started his ministry and in a short time, he had a great following. He had his disciples and people around him. They came from near and far. They came to listen to him and be healed by him and be cured of evil spirits.
But Jesus gives them something different(in today’s reading). He gives them blessings. Not the blessings that they were expecting. They wanted to be healed, and cured. But what he promises them does not correspond to their demands.
What he promises (Blessings) them correspond to the situation in which they are:
If they are poor then they are blessed. They are not made rich.
If they are hungry then they are blessed. They are not fed.
If they are weeping then they are blessed. They are made to laugh.
So Jesus does not change the situation in which they are.
Instead their situation itself becomes blessed. This is the work of the redeeming God. Redeeming God does not protect us from evil or does not avoid the negative situation. Instead he enters into the negative situation and makes the situation a blessing.
Often we ask God to protect us, keep us out of evil, out of suffering, and out of sickness. This is not the work of the God whom we believe in. We know the story of Job where God enters in to the life situation of Job and Job finds God in the midst of the suffering. Same with Jesus, when Jesus was on the cross, God did not get him out of the cross instead he made the cross holy and he made death a victory. This is our God.
So poverty, weeping, hunger are not changed instead they become kingdom, satisfaction and laughter.