The Sign of Jonah
17 March 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matt 12:38-42 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
38 One day some teachers of religious law and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign to prove your authority.” 39 But Jesus replied, “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. 41 “The people of Nineveh will stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here—but you refuse to repent. 42 The queen of Sheba will also stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for she came from a distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Now someone greater than Solomon is here—but you refuse to listen. (Matthew 12:38–42 NLT)
The Pharisees kept asking Jesus to show his power, to validate his claim to be the Messiah, by doing miracles. But the kind of miracles they wanted weren’t the kind of miracles Jesus was doing. Jesus was healing people and setting them free from Satan’s control. The Pharisees didn’t care about that. They wanted a Messiah who would restore the kingdom to Israel, not care for the poor and sick and crippled and the foreigner Samaritans and pagan Syro-Phoenicians.
Jesus warned the religious leaders of his own people that the pagan Ninevites would testify against them because the Assyrians repented at Jonah’s preaching. The Pharisees didn’t repent because they didn’t think they were sinful or sinning! Jesus said that the Queen of Sheba would condemn them because she listened to the wisdom of Solomon. Just as Jonah’s three days and nights in the fish’s belly preceded the repentance of the Assyrians, Jesus would come from the cross and the tomb and a way would be opened for repentant people from all nations to flood in and take their places in God’s Kingdom.
Friends, let’s not drift into the mistaken idea that we get to choose what our Messiah will or will not do! He leads, we follow. That’s our privilege and joy!
Father, We’re so thankful that Jesus Christ, our Messiah, is a servant king and a lover of the poor, the disadvantaged, and the stranger. Jesus, teach us, please teach us to love as you love, to love what you love, and to live pleasing you each day. Amen.