Thoughts on Today’s Verse
The Jewish leaders knew that Christ claimed to come from heaven as their Messiah and King. They recognised the miracles and wonders He performed, which had been foretold by Old Testament prophets and clearly authenticated His claim. But His message was unacceptable to these religious folk because He did not fulfil their preconceived expectations.
Israel’s opposition came to a climax in Matthew 11, when the Jewish leaders accused Jesus of casting out a demon by the power of Beelzebub. And from then on, we see a distinct change in Christ’s teaching, for He began to teach about His coming kingdom in parables.
Every area of His message, ministry, power, and authority, was challenged, including the astonishing healing miracles He had performed in their midst. Nothing He did satisfied their bigoted hearts, and they insisted Jesus prove His Messianic claims through a heavenly sign.
In earlier generations, signs from heaven had been given to encourage God’s people and increase their faith. Walls had tumbled, axe heads floated, human eyes had witnessed the angelic host of heaven engaged in battle, and Isaiah even saw the Lord seated on His throne, high and lifted up, His train filling the Temple.
However, Jesus read their hearts and identified them as an evil and adulterous generation of unbelieving Jews who had rejected God’s Word and were plotting His death. He knew they were attempting to trap Him and would not play into their hands. Jesus did not exactly refuse a sign, but would only give them “the sign of the prophet Jonah.”
When God commanded Jonah to preach repentance to the sinful citizens of Nineveh, he ran away to sea to escape God’s call. However, the Lord prepared a great fish to swallow his servant, who died in the belly of the monster but was brought back to life after three days to complete his mission. The sign Christ spoke of prefigured His own passion, death, burial, and Resurrection from the grave.
Jesus was angry at the unbelief of the Jewish leaders. Their refusal to hear His Word, coupled with a craving for a heavenly sign, identified them as “an evil and adulterous generation.” Jesus warned that no sign would be given, except the sign of the prophet Jonah: “For just as Jonah was in the stomach of the sea creature for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.”
The only sign Jesus would give this brood of vipers who were wilfully blind, was that of His death, burial, and Resurrection from the dead, after being buried for three days. This ‘sign of the prophet Jonah’ is the most amazing sign they could have been given, for the Resurrection of Christ is the sign that secures the resurrection to life of all believers, for He is the First-fruit from the dead.
The Resurrection of Christ from the grave is the most compelling sign He could have given to these disbelieving Jews, and a few were brought to faith following His Resurrection and Ascension into heaven. The Resurrection of Jesus continues to be a sign that has caused countless unbelieving people who desire to know ‘who moved the stone’ to come to faith. His death, burial, and Resurrection is the most thrilling truth for all who have trusted Christ for salvation for we KNOW that because He lives, we too will live. Praise His holy name.
Heavenly Father, how I praise and thank You for the sign of Jonah, which not only prefigured the death, burial, and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, but has given all who believe on the Him a blessed hope – knowing that because He rose to life immortal, we too will rise to newness of life. I pray for lost souls who doubt Your Word and ask that in Your grace, You would convict many of their need of Christ and open their blinded eyes before it is too late, so they too may come to a knowledge of the truth. This I ask in Jesus’ name, AMEN.
40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
11 And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.
2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,
3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:
5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.
9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.
10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.
15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,
17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.
19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.
20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:
21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.
27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.