The Sign of Jonah and a Word with Momma
Review: the dispute Jesus was having > tension rising > climax > Pharisees incensed that Jesus would not follow their
> Jesus broke their man-made commandment not to heal on the Sabbath by restoring the withered hand of a man
> a man who was blind and dumb due to a demon was brought to Jesus. Jesus cast out the demon and thus healed the man
> The people began to openly wonder if Jesus was the Son of David – the promised Messiah.
>The Scribes and Pharisees started to speak against Jesus telling the people that Jesus “cast out demons by Beelzebul the
ruler of the demons”
> this sin which they had just committed could not be forgiven, calling the Spirit Satan.
Now they change tactics and ask for a sign
THEME: What is God doing around us that we miss?
But first >
QUESTIONS: How good is your memory?
What kind of culture did they live in, written or oral? Oral, so the “remembering” part of their brain was more developed
How well did Jesus’ disciples know their Bible? Quite well, it was used in their learning process like when we go to
school. And it was oral, memorization.
The Mishnah describes the educational process for a young Jewish boy in Jesus' time.
bet sefer — 5–9 years old – Memorize Torah – Basic education
bet midrash — 10–13 years old – Memorize rest of Tanakh 1–10%
bet talmud — 13+ years old – Application to follow a rabbi
GOAL: To know what the rabbi knows, in order to do what the rabbi does (for the reasons the rabbi does them), in
order to be just like the rabbi in his walk with God.
We are a written culture, so many, many times in the Bible we miss references to things that have already occurred “in the
text,” in the Bible. This happens a lot in Matthew. But today, Jesus is specific about past events in scripture.
QUESTION: Getting back on track: Have you ever prayed for a sign? (let that hang, answer it at the end) How much
needs to be given to bring us satisfaction? How much does it take to prove a point to us?
Back to our theme: SLIDE What is God doing around us that we miss?
38 One day some teachers of religious law and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we want you to show us a
miraculous sign to prove your authority.” 39 But Jesus replied, “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a
miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was in the belly of the
great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three
nights. 41 “The people of Nineveh will stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for they
repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here—but you refuse to repent. 42
The queen of Sheba will also stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for she came from a
distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Now someone greater than Solomon is here—but you refuse to listen.
43 “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none. 44 Then it says, ‘I will
return to the person I came from.’ So, it returns and finds its former home empty, swept, and in order. 45 Then the spirit
finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off
than before. That will be the experience of this evil generation.”
46 As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 47 Someone told
Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, and they want to speak to you.” 48 Jesus asked, “Who is my
mother? Who are my brothers?” 49 Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. 50
Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”
1) V38 Why do you think the teachers and Pharisees, after all they had already seen, asked for a sign?
They wanted something big and spectacular, something on a cosmic level scale, and something without precedent. They
were still hoping to prove that Jesus was a fraud.
QUESTION: What did they really want? Their status, power and control back.
2) V39-40 What sign did Jesus say he would give?
Like Jonah is the whale three days > He would be in the ground three days > and be back! (They knew their text, the story)
3) V39,41 Why did Jesus invoke Jonah’s story and say the people of Nineveh would condemn them?
They got no signs > they got what? A sermon.
What was the sermon? Repent. (That’s all)
Who were the Ninevites? Pagans, gentiles, not Jews! (Mosul, Iraq)
Who was Jonah? A prophet/preacher who hated the Ninevites and tried to go the opposite direction and not preach.
What miracles did Jonah perform for the Ninevites? None
WHAT WE CAN LEARN: (our theme)
Be open and looking for what God is doing around us. Right out of a Pagan city the people and the their king looked, they
found this one man In large city, they listened, and they did what? They repented. (So condemning -us)
4) V42 Why will the Queen of Sheba condemn the people?
She was a pagan > she heard about Solomon > and she came a long way > she sought him out. (I Kings, I Chronicles)
How far did she come? 1,200 miles SE > lower Arabia > “ends of the earth
What about her? Wealthy, she just heard about . . ., no invitation, she got no “sign,” she brought gifts – gold, jewels,
WHAT WE CAN LEARN: (our theme)
Be open and looking for what God is doing around us. And maybe far from us. (She had word of mouth, we have the
internet.) (So condemning -us)
5) V43-45 What’s this talk about demons leaving and being able to return with more force?
It’s about replacing a space that’s been cleaned out with something good. The Pharisees worked hard to clean out the bad,
but where do we see them even talk about the good. Where’s the good?
WHAT CAN WE LEARN: (our theme)
Be open and looking for what God is doing around us.
AND fill up your life with those things!
QUESTION: What is darkness? The absence of light.
Get “addicted” to podcasts about God rather than pornography, rather than mind-numbing stuff about nothing on FB,
Twitter, Instagram, the Internet conspiracy theorists. Limit your “news” intake.
-Ask someone you trust, what can I listen to? What can I watch? There’s limitless bad stuff out there, but there’s limitless
good stuff. If the Queen of Sheba traveled 1,200 miles to seek wisdom . . . . surely, we can seek God’s truth and wisdom.
ONE LAST TOPIC AND WE WILL WRAP THIS UP
6) V46-50 What’s going on with Jesus and his family? And what’s going on with Jesus “family” comment?
There’s a rift in the family. Mary knew . . . ., but perhaps even she was in shock that he was at such odds with the
religious leaders. And healing Romans? (She knew John the Baptist, her nephew, and that Jesus didn’t rescue him?!?!?)
He loved his family and I don’t think he was being disrespectful But, Jesus in this moment is saying, “I’m gonna do the
thing my Father called me to do.”
When did the family rift get healed? Some say on the cross, did it? Did it ever? It did with his brother James. Whew, ????
Family is hard, even for Jesus.
Do we miss what God is doing all around us?
Look for good things, fill yourself up with good things.
You find what you look for
You do what you want to do, You find time for what you want to find time for, and you find what you look for
Look for the Kingdom of God (even where you don’t expect it)
Be walking around-looking around – but with your eyes, ears, mind and heart open SEARCHING for the Kingdom of
KNOW THIS: When you see good, it’s God at work!
Ending & Beginning of a new phase of teaching: This was the turning point. The leaders outright rejected Jesus. The
people, though they liked Jesus and what he was doing, did not grasp who he was. So, we will see Jesus focus on His
discipled. The Rabbi Jesus will focus on the disciples, the students, the talmidim.