In last week’s blog, I discussed the first verses from Matthew 12:38-45. Jesus called out the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees for being evil and adulterous when they asked him to prove himself to them. Jesus’ admonishment did not stop there.

…the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah. 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. Matthew 12:39b-40

Jesus said quite a bit in this short passage.

  1. Jesus, once again, points out the sin of the Pharisees. If you remember, I thought the theme of the overall passage was, “Relationship over rules.” Jonah was disobedient and rebellious. He was on a ship in a storm because he fled from God, refusing to follow His plan. Jesus states the religious leaders and Pharisees are no different than Jonah. They may be following the law, but, at heart, they are rebellious and far from God. That is why the only sign He will give them is the sign of Jonah.
  2. Jesus goes on with the good news for Jonah. After three days in the big fish, Jonah repented and obeyed God. “But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.” (Jonah 2:9) Then Jonah is given new life and a chance to follow God’s will when he is spat out on the shore of Nineveh.
  3. Jesus prophesized his own death and resurrection, warning these religious leaders about his sacrifice and what it would mean-a chance for repentance and redemption.
  4. Jesus declared, “I’m the sign. I’m right here in front of you, but you don’t see me as I am.” Jonah was thrown into the sea to appease the wrath of God and save the sailors on his ship. By making this comparison, Jesus identifies himself as the one who will ultimately save humanity with his death. But will the religious teacher and Pharisees recognize the Messiah before them?

Check back next Tuesday for the continuation of this passage of scripture. Have a blessed week!