Well, we’ve gone through the whole book of Jonah in throughout the past two weeks here, and it’s been fun. We’ve seen Jonah act like a godly prophet receiving the Word from God and preaching the Word from God to Nineveh, and we’ve seen Jonah act like a wicked little child throwing a temper tantrum when things don’t go his way. Doubtless there are thousands of lessons for us here in the book of Jonah and I think we’ve only scratched the surface in our time together. But there is one more lesson from Jonah that we must talk about…and it is found in Matthew 12.
Matthew 12:38-41 says, “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered Jesus saying, ‘Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.’ But He answered them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, One greater than Jonah is here.’”
This last lesson to learn about Jonah is a lesson of fulfillment. Jesus says here that by looking at Jonah we get a preview, a foreshadow, a picture of what Jesus would look like when He comes! For those of you that kept up with whole series, did you notice that chapter of Jonah we always ended up talking about Jesus? That’s because the OT is like a bathroom mirror. After you get out of the shower it’s all foggy – you can see your outline in it but you can’t see any details. But slowly as fresh air comes into the bathroom and steam goes away, you see more and more details until you can see every little detail in your face. In the same way, when you start the OT you see a foggy picture of the Redeemer that will one day come to save God’s people, but as you begin to make your way through the OT the picture gets clearer and clearer and clearer.
So, what’s the connection between Jesus and Jonah? They’re two and Jesus makes them clear:
a) First, there’s a connection with “three’s” – Just as Jonah spent three days and nights in the belly of the fish, so too Jesus will spend three days and nights in the grave. This implies that just as Jonah only spent three days and nights in the belly of the fish and was vomited out to go preach, so too Jesus will only spend three days and nights in the grave and be resurrected in power to equip the Church to preach His gospel worldwide.
b) Second, there’s a connection in repentance – If the Ninevites repented at the preaching of the prophet Jonah, how much more should the everyone in the world repent at the preaching of the True Prophet Jesus?! Jonah was great, but Jesus said it clearly, “One greater than Jonah is here.” Therefore if we do not listen to Jesus, and trust in His gospel, Jesus says the Men of Nineveh will rise up at our judgment and condemn us for not believing the Truth.