Summary: Jesus is greater than Jonah in His Person, His ministry, and His promise.
One greater than Jonah Matt. 12:41
INTRO.: If we see the shadow of a man coming around the corner, we know the man will follow not far behind. We also know the man is greater and more substantial than the shadow. Jonah was an Old Testament shadow of Jesus.
Jesus spoke these words to point up the hardhearted sinfulness of Israel. Jonah, a mere man, came with a God-given message and the Ninevites repented. Israel refused to hear Jesus, God Himself in the flesh.
Jesus claimed to be greater than Jonah. He was and is greater than anyone else as well. Let us consider some ways:
I. Jonah is identified as son of Amittai 1:1. Jesus was personally greater.
A. Mark identifies Jesus. Mk. 1:1
1. Jesus has a greater father. No one has heard of Amittai.
2. Jesus’ birth was prophesied for thousands of years.
3. His coming was announced by angels. He was worshiped by kings.
4. He had a greater birth. His birth shook foundations of hell, caused forces of evil to tremble.
B. Jonah rebelled against God in his arrogance:
1. Jesus always obeyed God. John 8:29
2. Jesus resisted every temptation. Heb. 4:15
3. ILLUS.: My mother used to say, "I’m only going to speak once." Jonah was sent twice. Jesus never questioned the Father.
4. Jesus’ character was greater than Jonah’s
C. Jesus claimed to always love and obey the Father. John 14:31
1. Jonah disagreed with God and opposed Him.
2. Jesus made complete surrender. Luke 22:42
3. We all have a little of Jonah in us.
4. But Jesus and the Father are one. John 10:30
5. Jesus is a greater person with a greater character, greater relation to the Father.
II. Jesus’ ministry is greater:
A. He cried for Jerusalem: Luke 13:34 19:41
1. Compare to Jonah on the hill overlooking Nineveh.
2. Jonah was compelled by fear of God.
3. Jesus, by love for lost humanity.
4. Jesus’ ministry is based on the greatest love.
B. Jesus sent disciples into world. Matt. 28:19,20
1. Jonah’s message to one city foreshadowed worldwide mission of Jesus.
2. Jesus’ ministry is to all men everywhere.
3. Jesus’ ministry is greater in its worldwide scope.
C. Jonah’s converts died eventually:
1. Jesus’ converts live forever. I Thess. 4:17
2. Jonah is dead. Jesus lives to intercede.
3. Jesus offers all generations salvation.
4. His ministry is greater in duration.
III. Jesus has a greater message:
A. Both men warned of judgement:
1. "Yet forty days . . ."
2. Matt. 7:26, 27 The disobedient build a house on sand. 25:41 Sheep and goats will be separated.
3. Jesus never hesitated to call men to accountability based on judgement.
B. John 11:23-26: At Lazarus’ tomb, Jesus spoke with authority.
1. Jonah left hearers faint hope. Jonah 3:7-9. His message had no Gospel.
2. Jesus brought a message of forgiveness and assurance.
3. Jesus’ message gives great hope for the future.
C. Remember, Jonah’s resurrection, though real, was figurative. He didn’t really die in the fish.
1. But eventually, he did die.
2. Jesus was truly dead and eternally raised.
3. He has a greater resurrection on which to base His greater message.
4. He has a powerful promise for us. Rom. 8:11.