The Sign of Jonah

Matt. 12:38   Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth. 41 The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here! 


After everything that Jesus had done and the religious leaders had observed they wanted yet another sign. This would be the sign of the resurrection, but they would refuse to accept it. Because they were evil and adulterous, they believed that they needed yet more proof of Jesus. The sign of Jonah would be repeated in Christ. Three days Jonah was in the grips of death but then he was spewed out onto dry ground. He went to the people of Nineveh and they repented. Now, they were to experience the resurrection of Jesus Christ, something much greater than Jonah having been in the belly of a fish, but they would reject this sign. The sign of Jonah was the risen Lord, and just as the Ninevites would have the opportunity to repent and respond, so would all the world now have the possibility of knowing Christ. The religious leaders who believed they were too good to accept this sign of Jonah would die in their sin. 


We may be in the camp with the scribes and Pharisees asking for a sign from the Lord. Often when life feels as if its closing in and darkness is surrounding, we seek just one more sign when the reality is that we have already received the greatest sign in the resurrection of Jesus Christ! The sign of Jonah has already been demonstrated to us and we are invited to believe in the risen Savior.

Just like the people of Nineveh, salvation is at hand when we repent and believe. Repent means that we turn from the ways in which we have been living, we turn from the attractions of this world, we stop living in sin, and we respond to the grace of our Lord, believing in the resurrected Jesus. 

We continue to be in the season of Easter and there are many who will have gone to church on Easter Sunday who rarely attend any other time during the year. They may even have joined into the proclamation, “He is Risen. He is Risen, Indeed!” in that Easter morning worship. But did we really believe what we were proclaiming? Are our lives a testimony to our faith in the risen Lord? Have we seen the sign of Jonah and taken action? 

It’s easy to point fingers at the religious officials but far too often when we peel back the layers we find ourselves standing there among them. If we have the sign of Jonah and if we get to live on this side of the cross, then our lives should be changed. Lip service once a year to the risen Lord is not life transformed by resurrection power. The people of Nineveh will rise up and condemn those who have received the sign of the cross, but have refused to repent. Something much greater than the sign of Jonah is here — He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed!


Lord, may this day be one in which we live in the power and presence of our risen Lord. Amen.


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