If this is your first viewing, please see my Introduction before reading this.
18 November. Luke chapters 10-11
When people ask for a “sign” to prove that Jesus was truly the Son of God, he refers them to the story of Jonah. Why Jonah? He shares some things in common with Jesus: perhaps most obviously in the storytelling, as Jonah slept in the boat, a great storm blew up and his fellow passengers woke him, believing that he could calm the storm, just as Jesus did. But Jonah was not the Messiah, in fact we are told that he was sinning by running away from God, and far from being able to calm the storm, only by being thrown overboard, apparently to certain death, could it be abated. So when Jesus calmed the storm with a single word, he was reckoning himself greater than a prophet.
That explains Jesus’ next comment, “The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgement with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here!” (11:32). How else was Jesus greater? Well he rose from the dead. Jonah was in the darkness of the fish until the third day when it miraculously spewed him up, alive and unharmed, on dry land. Likewise Jesus lay dead in the tomb until the third day, but he was resurrected.
Jonah was very unlike Jesus, though, in one respect. He loved the idea of preaching doom to the people of Nineveh but hated it when they obeyed the message and repented, and God spared them from destruction. Jesus on the other hand wept over those who refused his message of salvation, and told of the joy there would be in heaven over one sinner who repents. Which are you? A Jonah who loves bringing bad news, or like Jesus, one who delights in bringing good news?