The Sign of Jonah: What Christ’s Resurrection Says About Jesus, Believers and Unbelievers

Sign on the Door of the Garden Tomb, Jerusalem, Israel Matthew 12:38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.”

  •  They just saw him cast a demon out of a blind and mute man, and they said he did it by the power of the devil. But it was really a sign that the kingdom of God has come, and they refused to believe it and will be judged. He also said they said bad things about him because they don’t believe and don’t want to repent. Like a bad tree bears bad fruit, so does a bad heart speak unbelieving, sinful words in response to God’s Word.

  • Having seen and denied a sign, they want one done on demand, wanting to condemn him if he doesn’t.   

39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.

  •  They are not true children of Abraham, but of the devil (John 8:39-47). Abraham heard the gospel and believed, they hear it and deny it, because they are not of God.

  •  Jesus won’t do tricks on demand, so the only sign they get is a reminder of a past prophet.

40 “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

  •  Jonah signifies Jesus in that he experienced a kind of death and resurrection over a three-day period just as Jesus would one day.

  •  The resurrection is one of the most important teachings about Jesus there is in the Bible:  1) it tells us things about Jesus: a. His claims as Judge and Savior are true (Acts 17:31; 1 Cor. 15:1-11, 20) b.Jesus’ victory over death (Acts 2:24; 1 Cor. 15:54-57) c. Jesus’ righteousness (John 16:10) d. Jesus’ deity (Romans 1:4) e. Jesus’ resurrection leads to his ascension and enthronement, so identifies him as King (Acts 1:9-11; 2:33-34; Phil. 2:9-11; cf. Isa. 53:10-12) f. Jesus is our Great High Priest forever (Heb. 7:16-17) 2) it tells us things about believers: a. Signifies their forgiveness and justification (Romans 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:17;Heb.7:24-25) b.Signifies their hope of resurrection in the future (Romans 6:4-11; 1 Cor. 15:42-57) c. Signifies their life to God and death to sin, the power of which is defeated by the resurrection (Romans 6:11). Believers can resist temptation, if you remind yourself of the fact that Jesus’ resurrection means sin is not your lord anymore. d. Without it, their faith would be worthless, they’d still be condemned to suffer the consequences of their own sin, and have no hope of eternal life in resurrected bodies (1 Cor. 15:12-20).

            3) it tell us things about unbelievers (See following verses):

 41 “The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.        

  •  Jesus’ resurrection signifies that the unrepentant will suffer the consequences of their sins, because they rejected the preaching of the greatest Prophet, whereas the people of Ninevah repented at the preaching of Jonah. 

42 “The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.

  •  To add weight to this testimony, Jesus refers to another example of Gentiles gladly receiving from types of Christ, and this fact makes the scribes’ and  Pharisees’ rejection of Jesus that much more dangerous to them.

  •  Remember that when you hear the Word of God, God will judge you on whether you believe his promises, and whether you repent and obey when you hear his commands. If you love Jesus, you will believe what he says, like Abraham, and you will obey his commands. 


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