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Jesus And Jonah

posted Jun 23, 2013, 10:56 PM by hbchurch org


Even though Jesus came into this world hundreds of years after Jonah made his appearance, there is a close tie between the two. Jesus made the connection between Himself and Jonah when He said, “ Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation...The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, a greater than Jonah is here.” Luke 11:30, 32

The generation of people hearing Jesus were like those to whom Jonah preached; they both needed to repent (change their hearts and change their life). The people of Nineveh did, but most people who saw and heard Jesus did not. Why? Was Jonah more persuasive or believable? Was Jonah’s experience with the Big Fish more compelling than what happened to Jesus? No, both involved a miracle, and Jesus’ victory over the grave virtually eclipsed Jonah’s experience in terms of its importance.

The simple explanation for the dramatic difference between the response of the two groups is this: the Ninevites took Jonah’s message to heart, but most of the people in Jesus’ day did not think they needed to change. They were content with their way of life and viewed Jesus as an intruder who threatened their beloved system. Hence, most of them closed their minds and refused to believe or even consider the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection.

The chief priests were so determined to ignore the facts, hoping to prove that Jesus was a fraud, that they bribed the soldiers guarding the tomb, told them to lie and offered to protect them from the wrath of the Roman governor (Matt. 28:11-15). No wonder Jesus spoke of the condemnation of that generation. Tragically, that was not the last generation to deny Jesus’ resurrection. Paul was mocked by the intelligentsia in Athens when he told them about it (Acts 17:32). Festus accused Paul of losing his mind when Paul claimed Jesus’ resurrection fulfilled O.T. prophecy (Acts 26:22-24).

Granted, both Jonah’s experience and Jesus’ resurrection are abnormal, but that’s the point. The only way either event could actually happen is by Divine intervention - a miracle! A miracle was a sign intended to capture peoples’ attention. The people of Nineveh got the message: here is one who has proved that he is worth listening to, so they listened to Jonah and were delivered from the wrath of God. Now, a greater than Jonah is here and the evidence is compelling - His resurrection was foretold over 1,000 years before it actually happened (Psa. 16:10). What a sign! Yes, we should listen to Him and live!  KD