We are all responsible for the choices we make, whether good or evil. Life is not a game, and we don’t get a redo or a second chance to choose differently once our choice has been made and lived out. Some of us have been gifted with a great deal of responsibility in that such people are the movers and shakers of our world. These, because they have been given so much, much will be expected of them (Luke 12:48). Most of the rest of us will be judged more lightly, but in the end everyone’s works and the choices he has made will be judged by God. It behooves us, therefore, to consider Jesus’ words. After all, if he truly is who he claims to be, we shall be judged by what we believe about him and by the choices we make due to the high or low esteem in which we hold him.
According to Jesus, the Queen of Sheba will rise up with that evil generation of Jesus’ day and judge them. This would be a particularly piercing blow, because, remembering in what low esteem that generation held women, a woman would judge those bigoted men. The queen traveled a great distance to hear the wisdom of Solomon, the word of God at that time, (1Kings 10:1-13; cf. Luke 11:31), but the men of the first century AD rejected the word of God preached to them.
According to the Scriptures, Jesus has been made wisdom for all men (1Corinthians 1:30). In fact, hidden in Jesus are all the treasuries of wisdom and knowledge of God (Colossians 2:3). Nevertheless, although the Jews sought a sign and the gentiles sought wisdom (1Corinthians 1:22), Jesus was preached to them as the Christ (Messiah) who is crucified. This was, at that time continues to be even today, a stumbling block to the Jews (cf. Galatians 3:13), and foolishness to the gentiles (Acts 17:32 cf. 1Corinthiasn 1:23). Nevertheless, for those who believe (of both Jews and gentiles), Christ has become both the power of God and the wisdom of God, because the foolishness of God (the resurrection of Jesus) is wiser than men, and the weakness of God (Christ crucified) is more powerful than the movers and shakers of this world (1Corinthians 1:24-25).
The men of Nineveh will also rise up with that evil generation and judge them, because the Ninevites repented over the preaching of Jonah, but the Jews of the first century AD wouldn’t repent at the teaching of Jesus, even after seeing so many miraculous signs (Luke 11:32).
The men of Nineveh who would judge these Jewish leaders were gentiles. This would be a particularly biting blow to that evil generation, because they utterly abhorred gentiles. Gentiles weren’t fit to eat with Jews, and Jews wouldn’t enter into a gentile home or permit a gentile to enter theirs (cf. Acts 10:28). Yet, Jesus claimed gentiles would rise up in judgment over that evil generation who refused to repent at Jesus’ teaching.
The men of Nineveh repented at Jonah’s preaching, because, through him, they became convicted of their sins (Luke 11:32). The greater sign than Jonah was to the Ninevites was Jesus to his generation. Not only had Jesus preached the truth and performed many miracles to prove his message was from God, but when his enemies had him crucified, Jesus rose from the dead to prove he was the Son of God.
One might ask why Jesus chose these two examples (Solomon & Jonah) out of the Old Testament. It appears to me Jesus did it, because Solomon was the Jews’ wisest king and Jonah was the Jews’ most effective prophet in terms of obtaining immediate results. Yet, Jesus was wiser than Solomon, and would be more effect than Jonah. Moreover, those who heard the word of God were unbelieving gentiles, and both the Queen of the South and the Ninevites were affected by the word of God without the use of signs.