Introduction: Have you heard the expression, “It was all over except
for the shouting?” That is where we are in our study of Jonah. Our
Jonah story is over. If I were to grade Jonah as a prophet, it would
be a pretty low score. How about you? What do you think about Jonah?
When grading Jonah consider both his attitude and the result of his
work. How do you think God views Jonah? That last question leads us
into our study today. What kind of “shouting” follows the story of
Jonah? Let’s dive into the Bible and find out Jesus had to say about

  1. Signs for Seekers?

    1. Read Matthew 12:38. For what are these Jewish leaders
      asking? Are they asking for Jesus’ autograph? (They want
      Jesus to perform some sort of miracle so that He can prove
      Himself to them.)

      1. If you were Jesus, would this be an insulting

      2. What, if anything, do you think is wrong with this

    2. Read Matthew 12:39. Jesus apparently did not think this
      was a proper request. What did Jesus say was wrong with
      the request for a sign? (Jesus said they were a “wicked
      and adulterous generation.”)

      1. Wait a minute! Read Luke 19:10. I thought these
        (wicked and adulterous people) were the target
        audience for Jesus!

        1. Has Jesus temporarily forgotten His mission?

    3. Move back in Matthew 12 and read verses 22-23. Isn’t this
      a sign?

    4. Move back again and read Matthew 12:13-14. Isn’t this
      another sign?

      1. Did you notice the reaction of the audience to each
        of those miracles? Compare the attitude of the
        “average Joe (Joseph)” with the attitude of the
        Jewish leaders? (Jesus had been providing signs. When
        the leaders saw the signs they decided to kill Jesus
        ( Matthew 12:14). When the average Jew saw the signs,
        it made him wonder if Jesus was the Messiah (Matthew

    5. What do these texts reveal to us about the reason why
      Jesus refused to give a sign in Matthew 12:39? (Jesus was
      willing to give a sign to those who truly sought
      knowledge. However, He was not giving signs to those who
      simply demanded them and whose minds were already made up
      to reject Him.)

      1. Do you find a lesson in this for your work today?

        1. Or, is this an area in which only Jesus can

  2. The Sign of Jonah Versus the Sign of Jesus

    1. Read Matthew 12:39 again. Did Jesus completely refuse to
      give a sign to those who did not want to learn? (No. Jesus
      said they would get the “sign” of Jonah.)

    2. Read Matthew 12:40-41. When was Jesus three days in the
      heart of the earth? (After His crucifixion and before His

      1. Was this a sign for unbelievers? (It was the ultimate
        sign. Jesus coming back from the grave and being
        raised to eternal life goes to the heart of the
        gospel. It is the ultimate victory of God – defeating
        death and evil.)

    3. Jesus compares his coming crucifixion, rest in the grave
      and resurrection to Jonah’s fish swallow, hold and burp.
      Let’s compare Jonah and Jesus.

      1. Compare the mission of Jonah and Jesus?

      2. Compare the advance concerns of Jonah and Jesus about
        their reception? (As we have studied in these
        lessons, the Assyrians were savage. They amputated
        limbs, skinned people, and sealed them alive into
        walls. However, it was Jesus, not Jonah, who
        experienced a brutal death at the hands of His

      3. Compare the reputation of the audiences of Jesus and

      4. Compare the attitude of Jesus and Jonah in presenting
        God’s word?

      5. Compare the cultural differences faced by Jesus and
        Jonah? (A theme in our study has been that Jonah was
        reluctant to witness to the enemy. His audience was
        unworthy of his message in his eyes.)

        1. How does Jesus’ background compare? (Jesus was
          our Creator. There was a much greater difference
          in our “worth.”)

      6. Compare the hopes of Jesus and Jonah. What did each
        hope to accomplish?

      7. How are Jonah’s three days in the fish like Jesus’
        three days in the earth? (I see at least two
        parallels. Jonah changed and agreed to witness to the
        Ninevites during the three days. That change brought
        salvation to the Ninevites. Jesus’ three days and
        resurrection brought salvation to us. Jonah escaped
        death while in the fish. We escaped death through
        Jesus being in the earth.)

      8. How are Jonah’s three days in the fish unlike Jesus’
        three days in the earth? (Jonah was thrown into the
        water by unwilling sailors who did not want to offend
        Jonah’s God. Jesus was thrown into death by willing
        (or ignorant) Romans and Jews. Jonah was running
        away from his mission when he was tossed into the
        water. Jesus was fulfilling His mission when He was
        put in the earth. Jonah got into the fish because of
        his rebellion. Jesus got into the earth as a result
        of His love and obedience.)

      9. Compare the outcome for the cities which were the
        primary target of the messages of Jonah and Jesus?
        (After Jonah’s fish experience the entire city of
        Nineveh repented and was spared. After Jesus’
        death/resurrection experience much of Jerusalem did
        not repent and it was destroyed about 40 years

      10. Can you think of any other comparisons between Jesus
        and Jonah?

    4. What do you think Jesus’ audience was thinking when they
      heard His words in Matthew 12:41? Would the Jewish leaders
      be insulted by Jesus reference to the Ninevites repenting?
      (Yes. Jesus was suggesting that the pagan citizens of
      Nineveh were more spiritually alert than the chosen people
      of Jerusalem.)

      1. Is Jesus’ statement true? (Absolutely. Especially,
        remember that the city of Nineveh repented after only
        one day of warning and the repentance was total –
        from top to bottom. Jonah 3:4-5.)

        1. Is there a lesson or warning for us in the words
          of Jesus? (Being complacent in our
          “righteousness” is dangerous.)

  3. One Greater

    1. Matthew 12:41 ends with Jesus claiming to be greater than
      Jonah. List the ways in which Jesus is greater than
      Jonah? (Jesus is God while Jonah was a mere man. Jesus
      obeyed God the Father while Jonah did not. Jesus sought
      to seek and save the lost. Jonah sought to avoid and
      destroy the lost. Jesus gave His life for the world. Jonah
      gave just a few weeks to his mission. Jesus had a message
      of grace. Jonah had a message of destruction. As we have
      discussed, Jonah probably specifically omitted the grace
      part of his message. Jesus wanted to live. Jonah wanted to

    2. Read Matthew 12:42. Who is the “Queen of the South?”
      (Quickly read 1 Kings 10:1-9. This is the Queen of

      1. Was this another insult to Jesus’ listeners? (Solomon
        was a great king and the Queen was (again) a pagan
        who listened.)

      1. How do Solomon and Jesus compare in wisdom?

      2. Why will the Queen of Sheba stand in the judgment and
        condemn those who were challenging Jesus? (The Queen
        traveled a great distance to hear the wise words of
        Solomon. Jesus’ challengers would not listen to His
        wise words even when He was standing right there.)

        1. How about you? Are Jesus’ words easily
          available to you? Are you making an effort to
          listen to the One greater than Solomon and

    1. Friend, are you looking for additional signs from God or
      have you seen enough? If you have seen enough, repent and
      turn your life over to Jesus. Follow the example of the
      citizens of Nineveh and not the example of those who had
      been blessed with a great knowledge of God but possessed
      hard hearts.

  1. Next Week: A Picture of God.