GREATER THAN JONAH
men of Nineveh will rise in the judgment with this generation
and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of
Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here" (Matthew
of Christ as One greater than Jonah emerged when certain scribes
and Pharisees demanded a sign that would authenticate His
claim as the Messiah. In response, Jesus cited the story of
Jonah and then declared of Himself, "Indeed, a greater
than Jonah is here."
of this demand for a sign was Jesus' miraculous healing of
a demon-possessed man (see Matthew 12:22, 23). Demanding a
sign in the face of this remarkable miracle implied that it
was not really a miracle. Jesus responded that the Pharisees
had no right to demand a sign and that if one were given,
they would not accept it. Jesus also reminded them that Jonah
himself was God's sign to the city of Nineveh. Jonah had given
no signs, and the people had demanded none. The Ninevites
repented and turned to God in spite of the absence of a miracle.
By contrast, the Jewish leaders obdurately rejected the One
who was greater than Jonah.
Jesus greater than Jonah? Jonah sulked because a city had
repented (see Jonah 4:5); Jesus wept because a city would
not repent (see Luke 19:41). Jonah performed no miracles;
Jesus Christ was Himself the miracle of the ages. His incarnation,
His sinless life, His resurrection--were all miracles, Jesus
of Nazareth transcends Jonah and all other men. "In His
teaching Christ referred to Jonah... His message humbled the
nation at that time the mightiest in the earth. The proclamation
of their destruction caused them to repent in great humiliation,
and their doom was averted... This experience the Jews kept
ever in remembrance. But said Christ, 'A greater than Jonas
is here.' "--Signs of the Times, January 27, 1898.
Prayer Today: Lord, I claim You as my incomparable
Saviour. You are truly the greatest. Amen.