Summary: The Sign of Jonah for the 21st century
Sermon: Here’s Your Sign Matt 16:1 November 10, 2002
I. Our World is Looking for Signs
A. Signs, Signs, Everywhere you look you see them.
1. Street Signs
(a) Stop, speed limit, merge signs, one way traffic signs
(b) Caution signs like: Caution Water on Road during rain.
2. Advertising Signs
(a) For sale signs on houses, businesses, cars
(b) Signs to promote their business
(i) Like this one:
(a) Outside a plumber’s shop “We repair what your husband fixed.”
(b) Or At the baggage stand at an airport: We take your bags and send them in every direction
(c) Or At a church: Don’t let worries kill you let the church help.”
B. Even Billboard signs from God
1. The modern day equivalent to the writing on the wall
2. You have probably seen some of these:
(a) Let’s meet at my house Sunday before the game – God
(b) We need to talk – God
(c) Keep using my name in vain, I’ll make the rush hour longer. – God (now I know why traffic is so bad at rush hour)
(d) That “love Thy Neighbor “ thing…I meant it – God
(e) Big band theory, you’ve got to be kidding – God
(f) My way is the highway – God
(g) Need directions? – God
C. The Pharisees and Sadducees did have Billboards but they too wanted a sign from God
1. A sign from heaven
(a) At first glance this was not an bad request. It was common in that day to ask a prophet for a sign as proof that their words were from God.
(b) When a sign was requested it was expected that a miracle or healing or statement would begiven immediately as proof it was from God!
(c) Jesus had already performed many miracles and healings at this point. He had given them many signs from heaven. He had given them proof but the Pharisees and Sadducees were not asking for a sign to prove Jesus was from God. They were looking for a sign to prove in their mind that Jesus wasn’t from God.
2. And so Jesus refused VERSE 4 (READ)
II. The Sign of Jonah? What was this sign?
Much is debated about it for there is nothing in the Bible that explicitly says this is the sign of Jonah. Jonah in fact is only mentioned in the book of Jonah and in the passages about the “Sign of Jonah,” It is in these text that I believe the truth about the sign of Jonah is revealed.
A. Let us begin with the The Story of Jonah turn with me if you will to Jonah in the Old Testament – (pg 720) it is near the end of the old testment in the minor prophets – Daniel Hosea, Joel Amos Obadiah, Jonah
1. Most of us know the story. We probably learned it as the story of Jonah and the whale growing up in Sunday School but it is much more than that. In fact is it is really a story about God and Jonah.
2. You see Jonah was a prophet, a man of God. He knew God’s way, God voice. He had been delivering messages from God for years when he got this message.
(a) Jonah 1:1 “The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: ‘ Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.’”
(b) The message was loud and as clear as if it had been written on a billboard. – Jonah go to Nineveh – God.
3. But Jonah ran the other way.
(a) He hated the Ninevites. They were Assyrians and the Assyrians had trampled the jews. They were a vile and wicked nation. And Jonah despised them.
(b) What I find interesting is that Jonah ran away when God told him to “preach” against them. God was telling Jonah, given Jonah the chance to go and tell the Ninevites how bad they were. I would have thought Jonah would have enjoyed the opportunity to go and preach against them. The problem was while Jonah would have enjoyed chastising the Assyrians he knew God really well too. He knew God was just about chastising them God was about to save the Assyrians.
(c) So Jonah ran the other way.
4. A violent storm came. The sailors saw this as the hand of God in judgment against one who wronged him. And they determined the one who wronged God was Jonah. So Jonah was cast overboard as a sacrifice.
(a) Jonah 1:17 “But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.
(b) It was here in the belly of the whale that Jonah lamented, moaned and groaned to God until he came to true repentance. Vs 2:8 “ Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs But I with a song of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salavation comes from the Lord…” And the fish vomited Jonah onto dry land