Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Reflection - Jesus and Jonah - The sign of Jesus

Source (book): "God in Pursuit", Chapter 5, Question 2, Page 73.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012


 In what way is Jonah a 'precursor' of Jesus, and in what way are they different?
PHOTO: In what way is Jonah a "precursor" of Jesus, and in what way are they different?
Pressed by the Pharisees, Jesus refused to produce more miracles of healing. Instead, He pointed to himself as a sign: "For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation" (Luke 11:30). Just as what happened to Jonah (his miraculous escape from the large fish) convinced the Ninevites that his message was true, Jesus was saying that what was about to happen in His own life would serve to confirm His identity. And just as the sign of Jonah resulted in the Ninevites' repentance and salvation, Jesus was going to be the sign for His generation - and all generations to come. What was this sign? Jesus elaborated in Matthew 12:40: "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."

And this was exactly what happened. The Jews counted parts of days as a full day. Jesus was traditionally said to have been buried just before sunset on a Friday, and to have risen early on Sunday morning, which would have counted as three days. Some scholars, however, contend that He had actually died on a Thursday, which would have put Him in the tomb for three full days and three full nights. Whichever the case, Jesus' death and resurrection, repeatedly predicted by Him (Matthew 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19), was indeed the greatest sign that Jesus is the Son of God and the Saviour of the world.

But there are also significant differences between Jonah and Jesus. The greatest one is that Jonah was a disobedient prophet while Jesus was the perfect Son of God. That's why Jesus referred to himself as "something greater than Jonah" (Matthew 12:41). Jonah ran away from God upon being sent to the Ninevites, but Jesus came to earth humbly and remained obedient to the Father, even to the point of death on the cross (Philippians 2:6-8). The Son of God came, saying, "I have come to do your will, my God" (Hebrews 10:7). His attitude was diametrically opposed to that of Jonah, who took off by ship to Tarshish, as far away as possible. Jonah's disobedience caused a storm and almost got the sailors killed, but Jesus stilled a storm and almost saved His frightened disciples (Matthew 8:23-27). And while both men slept during a storm, Jesus slept because He trusted God, whereas Jonah slept because he was oblivious towhat was going on.

Also, Jonah's preaching paled in comparison to the wonderfully profound teachings of Jesus, which were accompanied by many miracles that demonstrated His authority over nature, sickness, demons, and death.

Finally, Jesus' character outshone that of Jonah, as we will see later in chapter 4 of the book of Jonah.

That is why it is such an inexplicable irony that all the people of wicked Nineveh repented because of the sign of Jonah, while most of the people of Israel rejected Jesus. No wonder Jesus said, "The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgement with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here" (Matthew 12:41).


How is Jesus a sign to our present generation?
But some did believe. Many, including the apostles and other early Christians, were not only convinced of the astounding truth of Christ's resurrection, but were even willing to die for it. They did not die for a lie. One disciple, Thomas, initially doubted that Jesus actually rose from the dead. But when the risen Christ appeared and invited him to put his hands into His wounds, Thomas responded penitently (feeling or showing sorrow and regret), "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28). Others who encountered the risen Christ likewise believed (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). This is probably the single most important reason why the church grew and flourished in the first few centuries - people recognised the sign of Jesus.


How important is His death and resurrection to our understanding of who He is and what God is doing in our world?
Jesus continues to be the sign for every generation. Space does not permit us to review the stories of how Jesus' powerful resurrection and His continuing presence in our world has been the sign for countless generations through the centuries. As Jesus told the repentant Thomas, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29). The apostle John noted that Jesus performed "many other signs" not recorded in his writing (John 20:30). It was sufficient to have focused on those that he did record - chief of which was Jesus death and resurrection. "But these were written," wrote John, "that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:31).
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In what way is Jonah a "precursor" of Jesus, and in what way are they different? How is Jesus a sign to our present generation? How important is His death and resurrection to our understanding of who He is and what God is doing in our world?

In what way is Jonah a "precursor" of Jesus, and in what way are they different?
The Sign of Jesus [1]
Pressed by the Pharisees, Jesus refused to produce more miracles of healing. Instead, He pointed to himself as a sign: "For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation" (Luke 11:30). Just as what happened to Jonah (his miraculous escape from the large fish) convinced the Ninevites that his message was true, Jesus was saying that what was about to happen in His own life would serve to confirm His identity. And just as the sign of Jonah resulted in the Ninevites' repentance and salvation, Jesus was going to be the sign for His generation - and all generations to come. What was this sign? Jesus elaborated in Matthew 12:40: "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."


Just as the sign of Jonah resulted in the Ninevites' repentance and salvation, Jesus was going to be the sign for His generation - and all generations to come.
PHOTO: Just as the sign of Jonah resulted in the Ninevites' repentance and salvation, Jesus was going to be the sign for His generation - and all generations to come. Jesus elaborated in Matthew 12:40: "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
Picture posted by Jesse Villanueva on 09 March 2017
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https://plus.google.com/photos/photo/113571126196442716106/6395142918863560258
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2019/02/reflection-jesus-and-jonah-jonahs-story.html



And this was exactly what happened. The Jews counted parts of days as a full day. Jesus was traditionally said to have been buried just before sunset on a Friday, and to have risen early on Sunday morning, which would have counted as three days. Some scholars, however, contend that He had actually died on a Thursday, which would have put Him in the tomb for three full days and three full nights. Whichever the case, Jesus' death and resurrection, repeatedly predicted by Him (Matthew 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19), was indeed the greatest sign that Jesus is the Son of God and the Saviour of the world.


Jesus and the sign of Jonah is relatable in this…Both men were down three days, one in the grave and another in the belly of a fish.
PHOTO: Jesus and the sign of Jonah is relatable in this…Both men were down three days, one in the grave and another in the belly of a fish. Jesus was sent by God to save His people from the bondage of sin and Jonah was sent to a group of pagans known as the Ninevites.
Picture posted by Redemptorist Pastoral Center on Friday, 30 March 2016 at 17:00:49 - The Three Maries at the Empty Sepulchre

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https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2019/02/reflection-jesus-and-jonah-jonahs-story.html

 

But there are also significant differences between Jonah and Jesus. The greatest one is that Jonah was a disobedient prophet while Jesus was the perfect Son of God. That's why Jesus referred to himself as "something greater than Jonah" (Matthew 12:41). Jonah ran away from God upon being sent to the Ninevites, but Jesus came to earth humbly and remained obedient to the Father, even to the point of death on the cross (Philippians 2:6-8). The Son of God came, saying, "I have come to do your will, my God" (Hebrews 10:7). His attitude was diametrically opposed to that of Jonah, who took off by ship to Tarshish, as far away as possible. Jonah's disobedience caused a storm and almost got the sailors killed, but Jesus stilled a storm and almost saved His frightened disciples (Matthew 8:23-27). And while both men slept during a storm, Jesus slept because He trusted God, whereas Jonah slept because he was oblivious towhat was going on.

 Jonah ran away from God upon being sent to the Ninevites, but Jesus came to earth humbly and remained obedient to the Father, even to the point of death on the cross (Philippians 2:6-8).
PHOTO: Jonah ran away from God upon being sent to the Ninevites, but Jesus came to earth humbly and remained obedient to the Father, even to the point of death on the cross (Philippians 2:6-8).
Picture posted by András Liszkai on 02 April 2015

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https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-qDzvyz8CDOY/VR1FhOLLv7I/AAAAAAAACD4/tirP5OzBpFw/w526-h800-n/Luke%2B23.46.gif
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Also, Jonah's preaching paled in comparison to the wonderfully profound teachings of Jesus, which were accompanied by many miracles that demonstrated His authority over nature, sickness, demons, and death.

Finally, Jesus' character outshone that of Jonah, as we will see later in chapter 4 of the book of Jonah.



Jonah's preaching paled in comparison to the wonderfully profound teachings of Jesus, which were accompanied by many miracles that demonstrated His authority over nature, sickness, demons, and death.
PHOTO: Jonah's preaching paled in comparison to the wonderfully profound teachings of Jesus, which were accompanied by many miracles that demonstrated His authority over nature, sickness, demons, and death.
Painting by Abraham Hunter - Jesus walked on the water in a terrifying storm
Picture posted by Infinity Fine Art - Saved by Grace

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http://infinityfineart.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/21-3135-post/Saved-By-Grace-Web.jpg
http://infinityfineart.com/2018/05/21/saved-by-grace-by-abraham-hunter/



That is why it is such an inexplicable irony that all the people of wicked Nineveh repented because of the sign of Jonah, while most of the people of Israel rejected Jesus. No wonder Jesus said, "The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgement with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here" (Matthew 12:41).



All the people of wicked Nineveh repented because of the sign of Jonah, while most of the people of Israel rejected Jesus.
PHOTO: All the people of wicked Nineveh repented because of the sign of Jonah, while most of the people of Israel rejected Jesus. No wonder Jesus said, "The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgement with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here" (Matthew 12:41).
Painting by Abraham Hunter - Perfect Peace
Picture posted by Masters Edition Fine Art

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http://www.masterseditions.com/images/Abraham_Hunter/06363_3_6800_Perfect_Peace.jpg
http://www.masterseditions.com/artists/14-abraham-hunter?start=3



How is Jesus a sign to our present generation?

But some did believe. Many, including the apostles and other early Christians, were not only convinced of the astounding truth of Christ's resurrection, but were even willing to die for it. They did not die for a lie. One disciple, Thomas, initially doubted that Jesus actually rose from the dead. But when the risen Christ appeared and invited him to put his hands into His wounds, Thomas responded penitently (feeling or showing sorrow and regret), "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28). Others who encountered the risen Christ likewise believed (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). This is probably the single most important reason why the church grew and flourished in the first few centuries - people recognised the sign of Jesus.
 

Thomas, initially doubted that Jesus actually rose from the dead.

PHOTO: Thomas, initially doubted that Jesus actually rose from the dead. But when the risen Christ appeared and invited him to put his hands into His wounds, Thomas responded penitently (feeling or showing sorrow and regret), "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28). Others who encountered the risen Christ likewise believed (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). This is probably the single most important reason why the church grew and flourished in the first few centuries - people recognised the sign of Jesus.
Painting by Abraham Hunter - Never Forsaken

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-hSUkAZIVQ2g/XH4zzIbQTBI/AAAAAAAAtD0/_WnF2HWtNKsz7ZBFLw97N8iZGobMNr6ZgCLcBGAs/s1600/Never-Foresaken.jpg
Never-Foresaken.jpg
http://infinityfineart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/26-555-post/PRINTABLE-PDF-Never-Foresaken.pdf



How important is His death and resurrection to our understanding of who He is and what God is doing in our world?
This beautiful poem, "Out of the Darkness" by an unknown author, talks about how God brings about Christ's resurrection from death:

Out of the dark forbidding soil
The pure white lilies grow.
Out of the black and murky clouds,
Descends the stainless snow.
Out of the crawling earth-bound worm
A butterfly is born.
Out of the sombre shrouded night,
Behold! A golden morn!
Out of the pain and stress of life,
The peace of God pours down.
Out of the nails - the spear - the cross,
Redemption - and a crown!

 

Out of the Darkness
PHOTO: "Out of the Darkness" talks about how God brings about Christ's resurrection from death:
". . . Out of the pain and stress of life, The peace of God pours down. Out of the nails - the spear - the cross, Redemption - and a crown! . . . "
Painting by Abraham Hunter - Freedom
Picture posted by SPB-KARTINA

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https://spbkartina.ru/kartiny-po-nomeram/kartiny-po-nomeram-40x50/rdg-2666-rdg-2666/

 

Jesus continues to be the sign for every generation. Space does not permit us to review the stories of how Jesus' powerful resurrection and His continuing presence in our world has been the sign for countless generations through the centuries. As Jesus told the repentant Thomas, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29). The apostle John noted that Jesus performed "many other signs" not recorded in his writing (John 20:30). It was sufficient to have focused on those that he did record - chief of which was Jesus death and resurrection. "But these were written," wrote John, "that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:31).


Jesus continues to be the sign for every generation.
PHOTO: Jesus continues to be the sign for every generation.
Jesus' powerful resurrection and His continuing presence in our world has been the sign for countless generations through the centuries. As Jesus told the repentant Thomas,
"Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (
John 20:29).Painting by Abraham Hunter - Like Father Like Son
Picture posted by Cell Code

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But these were written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
But these were written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
PHOTO: "But these were written," wrote John, "that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:31).
Picture saved by Josep Vidal to 15 años
gif file generated from Animated Images Effects Generator at
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Dear Lord, Let the sign of Jesus resulted in all generations, just as the sign of Jonah resulted in the Ninevites' repentance and salvation.
PHOTO: Dear Lord, Let the sign of Jesus resulted in all generations, just as the sign of Jonah resulted in the Ninevites' repentance and salvation.

Just like Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, Jesus spent three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

But we learn that there are also significant differences between Jonah and Jesus. The greatest one is that Jonah was a disobedient prophet while Jesus was the perfect Son of God. Jonah ran away from God upon being sent to the Ninevites, but Jesus came to earth humbly and remained obedient to the Father, even to the point of death on the cross. Jonah's disobedience caused a storm and almost got the sailors killed, but Jesus stilled a storm and almost saved His frightened disciples. And while both men slept during a storm, Jesus slept because He trusted God, whereas Jonah slept because he was oblivious to what was going on.


We discover that unlike Jesus, Jonah’s preaching is not accompanied by miracles that demonstrated authority over nature, sickness, demons, and death.

We learn that it is such an inexplicable irony that all the people of wicked Nineveh repented because of the sign of Jonah, while most of the people of Israel rejected Jesus. We pray for God’s mercy and grace to help our generations repent and accept the offer of Salvation so that we all can have eternal life, and be together with God in heaven forever.

We pray that our generations recognised the sign of Jesus just like those who had encountered the risen Christ, and believed. And Jesus continues to be the sign for every generation. His powerful resurrection and His continuing presence in our world has been the sign for countless generations through the centuries. We pray that this remain so for this generation, and the future generations to come.

We pray for help that all believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing we may have life in his name.

Through Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen!

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Reflection - Jonah Prays, God Delivers - Lessons from troubles and suffering
Question from source (book): "God in Pursuit", Chapter 5, Question 2, Page 73.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012






Also from the same author, Robert M. Solomon

"Faithful to the end", A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, @ 2014 by Robert M. Solomon


'Faithful to the end', A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, @ 2014 by Robert M. Solomon<br>
Reflection - Faithful to the end (Links)
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2017/06/reflection-faithful-to-end-links.html



"Finding rest for the soul" Responding to Jesus' Invitation in Matthew 11:28-29,
© 2016 by Robert M. Solomon

Reflection - Finding rest for the soul (Links)
Reflection - Finding rest for the soul (Links)
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2018/10/reflection-finding-rest-for-soul-links.html
 


Reference
[1] From "God in Pursuit" Lessons from the Book of Jonah, Copyright © 2017 by Robert M. Solomon, ISBN 978-1-62707-801-6, Part II: Jonah 2:1-10, Chapter 5 "Jesus and Jonah", Page 67-70.


New International Version (NIV), Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


1 Corinthians 15:3-8 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+15%3A3-8%29&version=NIV

Hebrews 10:7 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+10%3A7&version=NIV

John 20:28 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+20%3A28%29&version=NIV

John 20:29 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+20%3A29&version=NIV

John 20:30 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+20%3A30&version=NIV

John 20:31 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+20%3A31&version=NIV

Jonah 2:1-10 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jonah+2%3A1-10&version=NIV

Luke 11:30 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+11%3A30&version=NIV

Matthew 8:23-27 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+8%3A23-27&version=NIV

Matthew 11:28-29 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+11%3A28-29&version=NIV

Matthew 12:40 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+12%3A40&version=NIV

Matthew 12:41 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+12%3A41&version=NIV

Matthew 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+16%3A21%3B+17%3A22-23%3B+20%3A17-19&version=NIV

Philippians 2:6-8 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians+2%3A6-8&version=NIV