“THE SIGN OF THE PROPHET JONAH”
A. Matthew 16:4
Jesus told His generation they would see the sign of Jonah.
B. Luke 11:29-30
In his day, Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites. Let’s explore the comparison and contrast between Jesus and Jonah.
I. BOTH WERE SENT FAR FROM HOME TO
A. Jonah 1:1-2
Jonah was sent from Israel to Mesopotamia, a considerable distance when most land travel was done by foot, in order to preach to them.
B. John 6:38; Luke 19:10
Jesus traveled further, descending from heaven to earth, for the purpose of bringing salvation to man.
C. Mark 16:15; Colossians 1:5-6
As both Jonah and Jesus were sent to far flung places to preach God’s word, so, too, are Christ’s disciples sent into the world with His gospel. While the mission was accomplished within a generation, it is a need that is constantly renewed.
II. ONE HATED HIS AUDIENCE; THE OTHER
LOVED HIS AUDIENCE
A. Jonah 1:3
Jonah so despised his audience that he fled in the total opposite direction to avoid his duty.
B. Ephesians 3:14-19; 5:2; 25-32; Romans 8:38-39
The love of Christ is unfathomably wide, long, deep, and high. He loved us enough to give Himself, and no height or depth can keep us from that love.
C. John 13:34
We ought to love as He has loved us.
III. ONE WAS SACRIFICED BECAUSE THE
SEA WAS RAGING; THE OTHER WAS SACRIFICED BECAUSE THE HEATHEN WERE RAGING
A. Jonah 1:4-13
Jonah was tossed overboard because he was the cause of the tempest.
B. Acts 4:25-28
Jesus died because the nations raged.
C. John 15:18
If He was hated, so, too, will His disciples be hated.
IV. ONE VOLUNTARILY SACRIFICED HIMSELF
FOR THE LIVES OF THE SAILORS; THE OTHER VOLUNTARILY SACRIFICED HIMSELF FOR THE
SINS OF THE WORLD
A. Jonah 1:12
Jonah was deep-sixed by the mariners because he told them to do it, knowing full well he was the cause of their grief.
B. John 10:17-18
When Christ was crucified it was because He laid His life down. His death was His idea.
C. 2nd Corinthians 5:14-15; Galatians 2:20
Those for whom Christ died ought also to die for Him, figuratively speaking – devoting their lives to Him.
V. ONE WAS SENT TO DEATH BY THOSE
RELUCTANT TO BEAR HIS BLOOD; THE OTHER WAS SENT TO DEATH BY THOSE EAGER TO BEAR
A. Jonah 1:14-15
To their credit, the mariners who jettisoned their accursed passenger were more than hesitant to do so. It was only at Jonah’s insistence and the persistence of the storm that they dropped him into the sea, all the while begging God not to hold them accountable for his blood.
B. Matthew 27:22-25
In sharp contrast, those who pressed for Christ’s execution not only welcomed His blood on themselves, but wanted their progeny to share in it, as well.
C. Acts 5:27-28
How quickly Jesus’ haters forgot!
VI. BOTH WENT TO SHEOL/HADES
A. Jonah 1:14-2:2
From the belly of the fish, Jonah claimed to be in Sheol, which is the Hebrew word for where the dead are.
B. Acts 2:25-31; Luke 23:43; 16:23
Hades is the Greek way of saying Sheol, and it is where Jesus was between death and resurrection. The comfortable side of Hades is also called Paradise, or Abraham’s bosom, and it is situated in Hades across a broad gulf from the place of torment.
C. Revelation 20:13
Hades will eventually yield the dead to judgment.
VII. BOTH WERE SACRIFICED BY GOD
THROUGH HUMAN AGENCY
A. Jonah 2:3
Although it was the sailors who threw him overboard at Jonah’s own insistence, it was all God’s doing, really.
B. Acts 2:22-23; 4:27-28
Even though Jesus was crucified by lawless hands it was according to God’s predetermined counsel.
C. Isaiah 55:11
God’s will is done, period.
VIII. BOTH WERE PRESERVED MIRACULOUSLY
A. Jonah 1:17; 2:6-10
Jonah’s salvation from the deep came by way of a specially prepared fish swallowing him whole, keeping him in its belly without digesting him and with sufficient air to breathe, and then vomiting him onto land.
B. Matthew 12:40
Jesus likened His own burial to Jonah’s time in the fish’s belly.
C. Acts 2:31; Matthew 16:18
Although Christ had died and was buried, His body never underwent decay. Hades could not prevail against the kingdom Jesus would build.
D. Matthew 28:1-6
It was through resurrection from the dead that Jesus Christ was preserved.
IX. BOTH PREACHED REPENTANCE
A. Jonah 3:1-4; Mark 1:14-15; Luke 13:3
Although the word “repent” does not appear in the narrative, the notion is clearly implied by the fact that God intended to destroy Nineveh for her sins, but still sent Jonah to warn the Ninevites, which warning would be unnecessary unless He expected them to repent. Jesus was very direct in his message of repentance.
B. Matthew 12:41; Jonah 3:10; Matthew 3:8; Acts 26:20
The Lord said that the Ninevites repented when Jonah preached. What they did was to turn from their evil ways. Both John the Baptist and Paul the apostle taught that repentance must bear fruit.
C. Jonah 3:5-6; Colossians 3:8-10
The Ninevites’ repentance involved changing their clothes. Likewise, turning to Christ involves putting off old, bad habits, and putting on Christ Himself.
D. 2nd Peter 3:9
Our opportunity to repent is the only thing keeping God from destroying earth now.
E. 2nd Corinthians 7:10; Matthew 21:28-32
Repentance is more than godly sorrow; it is change based on that sorrow. It takes more than talk.
X. ONE WAS RECEIVED BY STRANGERS;
THE OTHER WAS REJECTED BY HIS OWN PEOPLE
A. Jonah 3:5; Luke 11:32
Jonah was a foreigner to the people to whom he preached (and he hated them), but they repented when he preached.
B. John 1:11-12; Matthew 13:53-57
Jesus is the son of David and Abraham, the Jew of all Jews, the fulfillment of prophecy, but His own people rejected Him.
XI. ONE WAS FILLED WITH DISPLEASURE
BY THE GOOD RESPONSE TO HIS PREACHING; THE OTHER IS FILLED WITH PLEASURE BY
A. Jonah 4:1-4
When the Ninevites accepted Jonah’s word and altered their ways, the prophet pouted.
B. Luke 15:7, 11-32
Jesus taught that all of heaven is filled with joy over one sinner repenting.
XII. ONE WAS SELFISHLY SORROWFUL;
THE OTHER IS SELFLESSLY SORROWFUL
A. Jonah 4:5-11
While he sat, pouting over Nineveh’s great response to his message, Jonah was given miraculous shelter by God that God then removed. He whined about that, too.
B. Luke 19:41-44; Matthew 9:36
When Jesus lamented it was because people refused to listen and obey.
C. Ephesians 5:25; 1st Timothy 1:15
The salvation of others is Jesus’ one concern.
By Bryan Matthew Dockens
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