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The Sign of Jonah

The Sign of Jonah

Words of Faith 8-20-18

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Luke 11

    [29]  As the crowds increased, Jesus said, "This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. [30] For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. [31] The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here. [32] The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.


         Jesus had something else to say.  This was directed to those who responded to Him with doubt and wanted to test him asking for signs and wonders to prove who He was.  Jesus was clear.  No more signs.  The time for signs was over.  It was decision time.  It is a wicked generation that continues to seek signs.  There would be no more signs except the sign of Jonah. 

         So what is the sign of Jonah?  Interpreters differ on this.  Jesus may have been referring to His death and resurrection as a parallel to the three days that Jonah spent in the belly of the fish.  But many suggest that Jesus was talking about a time when God causes massive repentance without any miracles or even any great words.  That is what happened to Jonah. 

         You may recall that Jonah may preached the most reluctant and unimaginative sermon in all of history.  After being dragged unwillingly across the known world in the belly of a large fish, Jonah came to the edge of the city of Nineveh and uttered just eight words.   "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned."  

         To Jonah's amazement and disappointment there was a huge repentance.  The Ninevites believed this message from God! They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth in repentance. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust (Jonah 3:1-7).   The sign of Jonah would seem to be a massive repentance as the Spirit of God falls upon a city after as few as eight words are uttered.  No fancy technology, dramatic antics, or lengthy altar call.  Just eight words!

         How would you like to have a preacher like that?  Eight words and the people were brought to repentance.  They fasted and the King took off his robes.  Why?  Not because of the messenger or any signs and wonders.  It was because of the power of God.  Eight words from the mouth of God, even uttered reluctantly by a prophet, will bring repentance.

        Remember how Jesus cursed Korazim, Capernaum and Bethsaida because they did not repent. "Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes (Luke 10:13).  Jesus was saying that there comes a time for repentance and obedience.  The time for signs was over.  It was time to hear the Word and obey. 

         A quick reading of the Gospel confirms that there were very few miracles left on the agenda.  There was one more healing of some lepers, motivated by compassion rather than as a sign.  But that is it.  Jesus was going to teach now.  The time was drawing short and Jesus would concentrate on teaching Kingdom of God.  No more "signs" no more wonders. You are to hear and obey.

        What is your response to Jesus?  Are you amazed?  A Kingdom response takes more than amazement.  Many were amazed.  There is a temptation to seek after signs.  A little more proof.  A little more time.  Jesus says that this is the time.  No more signs.  Today is the day of salvation.  He is now going to teach.  Hear the Word and obey. 


       Lord, I am ready.  Help me to hear You clearly and give me the courage to obey.  In Jesus' name.