Matthew 12:38-42

Then some scribes and Pharisees said, “Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign.” He responded, “The people of an evil and unfaithful era look for a miraculous sign. But the only sign they will get is the sign of the prophet Jonah. Just as Jonah was in the belly of a huge fish for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. The men of Nineveh will stand up with you at the time of judgment and will condemn you, because they turned to God and changed the way they thought and acted when Jonah spoke his message. But look, someone greater than Jonah is here! The queen from the south will stand up at the time of judgment with you. She will condemn you, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear Solomon’s wisdom. But look, someone greater than Solomon is here! .

Just in case that all you remember about Jonah it’s that he was swallowed by a big fish, I’ve selected key verses that tell the important part of the story. Jonah 1:1-2

The LORD spoke his word to Jonah, son of Amittai. He said, “Leave at once for the important city, Nineveh. Announce to the people that I can no longer overlook the wicked things they have done.” Jonah 3:5-6

The people of Nineveh believed God. They decided to fast, and everyone, from the most important to the least important, dressed in sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he got up from his throne, took off his robe, put on sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Jonah 3:10 God saw what they did. He saw that they turned from their wicked ways. So God reconsidered his threat to destroy them, and he didn’t do it.

Nineveh was a city so large that it took three days to walk from edge to edge. It had become so wicked that God was going to destroy it. However, because he is a God of love, he sent Jonah to warn them to repent and change their evil ways. And they did, so God did not destroy them.

Now, with this background, do you understand how Jesus was berating these Pharisees that came to him, asking for one more miracle? For years Jesus had been traversing Israel healing, feeding, preaching, walking on water, calming storms, and raising the dead. He wasn’t hiding these signs of power. He had even done some of them in the synagogues. Jesus reminds them that the people of Nineveh received no miraculous signs but still believed the message of God through Jonah. He then said that in the coming time of judgement, the people of Nineveh would testify against the Pharisees lack of belief,

How do you think that the Ninevites will testify about our nation, our cities, and ourselves? Will they praise our belief or condemn our unbelief?

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