Every kid that has gone to children’s church knows the story of Jonah and the whale, or more accurately, Jonah and the great sea monster. We focus the kids on the fish. We need to focus them on a far greater miracle recorded in the book. When the monster threw Jonah up on the beach, he finally got going to Nineveh, the Assyrian capital. When he arrived he preached strongly about God’s judgment. Then came the real miracle—they repented and believed. The book doesn’t even tell us that Jonah told them his underwater story.
Move forward several hundred years and someone far greater than Jonah was preaching, not in Assyria but in Israel itself. The people witnessed Jesus healing withered hands, giving sight to blind eyes, and even breathing life into corpses, but they refused to believe He was God’s Son, the Messiah. In the midst of all the miracles, they wanted more proof—a conclusive sign that will authenticate Jesus’ credentials as the Messiah.
“Then some of the legal experts and Pharisees questioned Him, ‘Teacher, we want you to show us a sign.’ He answered them, ‘A wicked and spiritually adulterous generation seeks a sign and no sign will be shown to them except the sign of the Prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was in the belly of the sea monster three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.’” -Matthew 12:38-40
Matthew is showing us through Jesus’ confrontation with His antagonists that Jonah’s near death experience in the depths of the Mediterranean foreshadowed Jesus’ real burial in the garden tomb. It was a far greater miracle for God to resurrect His own Son from the darkness of the grave than for Him to bring Jonah back from being swallowed by a fish. Jesus clearly exposed that the issue was not evidence. It was the darkness residing in the hearts of those who refused to believe Him. Jesus is the only Savior in history who conquered the grave. This is the ultimate sign. Remain in evil deception or trust the Truth.
Lord, I have friends who live for months in submarines that human engineers have built. Help me help others see that it’s not a big deal for You as the Creator to engineer a fish to keep Jonah alive. More importantly use me to help them trust the reality of a far greater miracle—the all-important sign—the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
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