Luke “As the crowds increased, Jesus said, ‘This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now something greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now something greater than Jonah is here.’” Luke 11:29-32
Jonah lay in the belly of a fish for three days and nights. There was no light, no food, no water. It was a living death. While he was there in the depths of the sea, he repented for his sins and God brought him out from behind the jaws of the monster where he had been hidden in a fish-shaped grave. He was spit out onto dry land but went immediately to preaching a message that brought an entire city to her knees.
It was as if he had come back from the dead but with a living message. Jesus told His disciples that His death would mimic that of Jonah. He would be in the grave hidden behind the jaws of the beast called death. Soon the Bread of Life would be lying in a grave on a stone slab. The Living Water and the Light of the World would be silenced, but in three days He would emerge from the dead with a living message. It would be pronounced by the angels, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” Jesus wouldn’t need to repent for His sins. He had none. But He would fight to the death so He could carry ours to the grave, where they could be declared dead and buried to be remembered no more. His message of life from death is meant to bring us to our knees. It isn’t meant for just a city. It is meant for the world. Jonah had to repent from a living death. He would escape. We are called to repent now before we have to face an eternal death from which there is no escape. It is a message of life from death.