Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: Matthew 12:38-39
Throughout Jesus ministry , he prophesied about his death and resurrection. The Sign of Jonah was one of the many instances. Here the religious leaders are asking for a “sign” Prove to us you are God! Doesn’t this sound familiar in todays world? Atheist today believe their clever argument is if God is really then show me a sign! Yet they deny the simple and basics of evidence of the existence of our universe and life itself.
This is what Jesus told the religious leaders, God has already given signs. Then he referenced Jonah because these Pharisees are well educated on. Are you missing the already signs God has given you?
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Matthew 12:40
Jesus is foretelling about his death and resurrection using Jonah’s incident in a whale as a foreshadow of the tomb. Now this seems like a pretty easy analogy to understand, however in todays Christianity this statement by Jesus is highly debated.
When Jesus says “3 days and 3 nights’ is he referring to a literal 72 hours? No. This is a Hebrew Idiom, meaning its not literally 72 hours. Any part of a day would count as a day , this is why Jesus referenced 3 days and nights.
We know from scripture Jesus was crucified on a Friday because it was “Preparation Day” meaning the day before the Sabbath (Mark 15:42, Luke 23:54, John 19:31)
We know Jesus rose on the first day of the week (Sunday) which is why Christians now worship on Sunday and was historically called the Lords Day (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20)
The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. Matthew 12:41
What Jonah did was a foreshadow of Christ to come! Jonah preached repentance and Nineveh repented to God. Now Christ has come who is even greater than Jonah!