Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Sign of Jonah

"Lifeline Jonah" Wayne Forte 2002

Matthew 12:38-42 38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, "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 shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41The men of Nineveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for the repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. 32 The queen of the South will arise 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.

Differences between Jonah and Jesus

Chrysostom: "For Jonah was a servant, but I am the Master; and he came forth from the great fish, but I rose from death. He proclaimed destruction, but I rose from death. He proclaimed destruction, but I am come preaching the good tidings of the kingdom. The Ninevites indeed believed without a sign, but I have exhibited many signs. They heard nothing more than those worlds, but I have made it impossible to deny the truth. The Ninevites came to be ministered to, but I, the very Master and Lord of all, have come not threatening, not demanding an account, but bringing pardon. They were barbarians, but these -- the faithful -- have conversed with unnumbered prophets. And of Jonah nothing had been prophesied in advance, but of me everything was foretold, and all the facts have agreed with their words. And Jonah indeed, when he was to go forth, instead ran away that he m;giht not be ridiculed. but I , knowing that I am both to be crucified and mocked, have come nonetheless. While Jonah did not endure so much as to be reproached for those who were saved, I underwent even death, and that the most shameful death, and after this I sent others again. And Jonah was a strange sort of person and an alien to the Ninevites, and unknown; but I a kinsman after the flesh and of the same forefathers." The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 43.2

Three has always been considered a mystical, magical number.

Three is also the number of the superlative (as in good, better, best). In the TANAKH three days are sometimes required to complete a journey. In Hosea three days is the length of time required for divine salvation/restoration:

Come, let us turn back to the Lord:

He attacked, and He can heal us;
He wounded, and He can bind us up.
In two days He will make us whole again;
One the third day He will raise us up,
And we shall be whole by His favor. Hosea 6:1-2

Forgiveness In A Wounded World: Jonah’s Dilemma
Janet Howe Gaines

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