The Sign of Jonah

February 7, 2023 in Today's Worship by TGV

Matthew 16: Worship Guide/ 40-BSG-16A, (Matthew 16:1-6)/ Topic: The Sign of Jonah/ Hymn: Watch Ye Saints!

Exploration: Signs of The Times (Mt 16:1-4; 24; Mk 13; Lk 21; Rev 1:7).

In the first four verses, the religious leaders come to test Jesus, once again asking him for “a sign” (cf. Mt. 12:38–42) – [for more discussion, see Section 40-BSG-16J of this Study Guide]. The Pharisees wanted Jesus to work a miracle to verify His legitimacy. But signs never convince skeptical people. By this point, Jesus had performed many miracles already: healing, raising the dead, feeding thousands, etc., but none of these was convincing enough! Jesus again refuses to provide any sign except for “the sign of Jonah.” What is the sign of Jonah? Well, let’s take a trip to the OT. Because of disobedience, prophet Jonah was swallowed by a great fish, where he remained for “three days and three nights.” After that, God caused the great fish to vomit Jonah out onto dry land (Jonah 1:15–17; 2:10) to go and preach repentance to the people of Nineveh. This incident foreshadowed Christ’s death and resurrection: He would stay in the tomb three days and nights (Mt 16:21). Note that after hearing Jonah’s call for repentance, the Ninevites repented of their evil ways (Jonah 3:4–10), while the Pharisees continued in their unbelief despite being eyewitnesses to the miracles of Jesus.

The point is clear: No miracle can convince a recalcitrant person! No miracle can convert those who choose not to be converted. Not even the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (the sign of Jonah) could convince the chief priests who had decided not to be converted. Instead, they bribed the Roman soldiers to lie that His disciples had come to steal His body (Matt. 28:9-15). Beloved, true conversion occurs only when the Spirit of God applies the gospel to a teachable and humble heart!

Devotional Implication: Jesus Christ is the greatest sign ever given to humankind! –(both at His first and second coming). As Dr. Luke had recorded at Jesus’ birth, “then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against” (Luke 2:34, NKJV) In His second coming Matthew refers to Him as a sign writing, “and then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:30, NLT)

You see, Christ’s enemies were looking for some “missteps” or some supposedly “blasphemy” by Jesus, which would give them a “solid case” to justify murdering Him! By now, Christ had already performed many “signs” on earth, but if anything, that had only stiffened their unbelief. Even if He decides to perform a miracle from heaven now, they still will not believe in Him! The fascinating thing is that Jesus Himself was The Ultimate Sign, for He was God who had come from Heaven. But these phonies’ religious leaders were blinded to that incredible truth! (Jn. 1:11). I pray that today we accept Jesus for who He is and not based on the signs He can perform for us. We ought to repent our unbelief and surrender our lives to Him, serving Him and preparing others for His soon return. This is my prayer for you today, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Gospel’s Voice: My son, Jesus Christ, is the sign, the only sign you need!  Most of the Jewish leaders missed the first sign, for “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” (John 1:11, ESV), but they won’t miss the second sign (indeed a sign from Heaven). For John writes, “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” (Rev. 1:7). Will you mourn or rejoice when Jesus appears in the clouds? Have you repented of your sins? Have you believed in Jesus? Are you ready for Jesus?

My Desire: By God’s grace, I want to –

  1. Be cognizant of the signs around me: Signs of The Times (Mt 24).
  2. Repent of my sins, wash my robes, and prepare to meet my God (Am. 4:12)
  3. Help someone come to Jesus (by grace through faith) and not based on signs and miracles.
  4. Be vigilant and diligently seek to “Redeem the Time” for the days are evil (Eph 5:16).
  5. Watch and pray always, looking for that “Blessed Hope” and motivated to live for Christ (Tit. 2:13)

Today’s Mandate: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:2–3, NKJV)



Print Friendly, PDF & Email