Jesus heals in the Temple, painted by Tissot
29 When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
What was Jesus thinking when He rode triumphantly in to the Temple on Palm Sunday? We are not sure if HE rode a colt with a donkey or a colt horse or both.
I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. 7 And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.
Here was Jesus. The Son of God. Not born in the palace. Growing up an ex-patriot in many ways. Like the Children of Israel, Jesus spent time in Egypt. Jesus might have even spoken with a non-Hebrew accent. God making amends. When HE is not even called to make amends.
To whom did Jesus proclaim "I am the Messiah?" A woman. Well Dinah did not receive son-ship. Her descendants did not even receive biblical names in Genesis 46. The remnant left by the exile to Babylon were the Samaritans. Thrown out by the people with pedigrees. Now known to be 3 tribes of Israel. Jesus, in John's Gospel proclaimed His Son-ship to a daughter of Jacob. Cast out and with few choices in life. God makes amends when He does not have to. And His Ark did not reside in the Temple. Which is what the Holy of Holies revealed when the curtain was torn.
What was Jesus thinking when Matthew 12 was written
38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.
1,000 years go by.
Why is God interested in signs, Jonah in 8 B.C.
200 years after Solomon. And the Queen of Sheba...
Well the Queen of Sheba - Ethiopia - we see in history Ethiopia began to speak Hebrew during the years they mined so much gold from the ground. There is a copy of the Ark of the Covenant. The Queen of Sheba traveled on a personal pilgrimage to do her God given job/life and saw beyond Solomon to the Presence of God. The Legends took the good Queen into the arena of 700 of Solomon's women. In the day of the Queen of Sheba - Queens are precariously placed with rivals - one would become Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I, or Guinevere for not being virtuous. The Queen left Ethiopia stronger today for her faith. Jesus was setting the record - straight. God making amends when He did not have to.
Jesus links Solomon back to the Queen of the South. Let's extrapolate together and say Solomon improved in his old age. Because Jesus remembered them together - perhaps it's like Africa today. The Church of England is seeing Revival because the flame was carried in faith and now the favor is returned by Africa. Just maybe, Solomon was wistful when he said who can find a good woman. After all, God does like to repeat situations in Scripture.
Let's think of another repeat. Definitely not the Buddhist repeat of souls. Because like the mathematician George Carlin said - suddenly the world has more people alive today than... in the history of ... the world.
Paul said fight the good fight.
Let's look and count the Score (mentions) of Luke 11.
God likes to repeat... i.e...as Jesus was coming back from the transfiguration...
9 And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.” 10 And the disciples asked him, “Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” 11 He answered, “Elijah does come, and he will restore all things. 12 But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.
What??? Elijah was part of the Transfiguration! Jesus is saying that John the Baptist was a repeat of the task of Elijah - "Make Straight the Paths of the Lord!" Clear the way - Jesus is coming! This is the Good News and we are invited.
So, Jonah is the big question today.
Let's look at Jonah.
He is looking a trifle stunned.
It's only because he is placed in the Sistene Chapel above - Judgement.
[Where the story is ... Michelangelo gave Minos, the Judge of the Souls, the semblance of the Pope's Master of Ceremonies, Biagio da Cesena, who complained to the Pope about the nudity. Many other figures, as well, are portraits of Michelangelo's contemporaries. The artist's self-portrait appears twice: in the flayed skin which Saint Bartholomew is carrying in his left-hand, and in thelower left hand corner; who is looking encouragingly at those rising from their graves. The artist could not have left us clearer evidence from Michelangelo's poetry; at this point in his long, long life - he was feeling more devout and concerned about the fate of his own soul. He placed his self-portrait hovering precariously over hell and midway, in a diagonal line, between Christ, and the famous image of the man who has just realized that he is being pulled down toward hell.]
What in the world could God be repeating in...Jonah - who has his own Book in the Bible. 25 Times in The Old and New Testament he is mentioned.
Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath-hepher - begins in 2 Kings 14:25
Johan had said from the Lord that the Lord wanted the border of Israel restored, He would not blot out the name of Israel, so He saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash, King of Judah. An intervention.
That is a heroic intervention. Wouldn't we all like to be remembered heroically.
Hero to Two Nations!
Next assignment - radically change more enemy nations - What???
2 Kings 18-19, which reports that Sennacherib's invincible army was laid low by the angel of the Lord, after which Sennacherib returned to Nineveh where he was murdered by his sons. Okay off you go Jonah. Easy. Well...maybe God had put forth a straight path. Rather like...
Nineveh was the Fort Knox of the day. Sennacherib’s “palace without rival” had reliefs depicting the campaign against Teumman of Elam and Dunanu of Gambula in 633 BC. One Particular relief would have caught his attention. On it, Elamite captives are shown being tortured. The caption above stated, “Mr. (blank) and Mr. (blank) spoke great insults against Assur, the god, my creator. Their tongues I tore out, their skins I flayed”
Good times. Good times. Off you go. Um not I, Captain Bligh. Swim with the fish.
Fast forward -
The nice part about being 'Written' - you can't fail.
Jonah is supposed to love this generation.
- Jonah goes up and down with Psalm 107.
- He is a Double National Hero !!!
- He flees from Hearing from... THE LORD...
- Jonah went:
- Jonah likes to talk. And tells a lot.
- Jonah is a born negotiator -
- Jonah offers himself instead...The very definition of 'Ish' a moral man of God.
- As a result of Jonah proclaiming God -
- Jonah has this rare capacity to take misadventure, Praise and humor.
what I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation belongs to the Lord!”
And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.
- Jonah could be sarcastic and drastic.
- Jonah - with a word he gets what he came for - “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, 8 but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9 Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”
- And Jonah being the guy people actually like very well was pleased - except -
- Jonah sulks. God adores Jonah and gives him instant comfort.But Jonah was just a mite too concerned with his own comfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. 7 But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered.
- And the Lord said, “You pity the plant?" God gets so mad, God stalks off leaving Jonah unanswered. Not like Job.
Why would God want to repeat a situation like Jonah? Jonah did return to publish a Book in His Word. We pray good things for Jonah.
Well. Gideon. God didn't want to leave a good man unsung. Every now and then the Scriptures record God acts a little rashly. Remembering like Gad - to minister without love is not fruitful. God doesn't have to make amends really.
What would you do if God told you that you were to go to Nations and be Jonah?
Doesn't He give all believers the Great Commission?
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore spray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Not fuss. Not fret.
The Scriptures are quite real. Like the Cross this is a symbol of Life over death - this is where man intersects God. God equips men. Noah swung a hammer to a board. Not one of the workmen was perfect. The works went on. His Plan. They made mistakes they did deliberately. They were tired and worn out and weary and sometimes worried. The disciples spend a lot of time walking with Jesus is awe and in confusion and worry.
Love the Lord and pray. Love others. Give Justice with Mercy. Walk humbly with God. When life is difficult, rest your mind upon His shoulder. Psalm 131
The plans of the heart belong to man,
but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
Commit your work to the Lord,
and your plans will be established.
The Lord has made everything for its purpose
By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,
and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.
When a man's ways please the Lord,
he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps!
It don't have a job
Don't pay your bills
Won't buy you a home
In Beverly Hills
Won't fix your life
In five easy steps
Ain't the law of the land
Or the government
But it's all you need...
Love will hold us together
Make us a shelter
to weather the storm
And I'll be my brothers keeper
So the whole world will know
That we´re not alone
It's waiting for you
Knockin' at your door!
Every moment of truth
When your heart hits the floor
When you're on your knees then...
Love will hold us together
Make us a shelter
to weather the storm
This is the first day of the rest of your life
This is the first day of the rest of your life
'Cause even in the dark you can still see the light
It's gonna be alright s´gonna be alright
I've read the last page of the Bible, it's all going to turn out all right!
1 Corinthians 15:57
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.