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The Sign Of Jonah

June  28, 2009

What if Jerusalem and Judah had repented at the preaching of John and Jesus, just as Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah? Would the cup of death have been withheld from our Lord? Yet, the Jews rejected their Savior, their Messiah. And, God knew that they would!

Bernie Parsons

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The Sign Of Jonah


A sermon by Bernie Parsons

 presented to the Globe church of Christ on 06/28/2009



Luke 11:29: “And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.

30: For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.

31: The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

32: The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.”


Jonah 1:1: “Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,

2: Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

3: But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

4: But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.

5: Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them.  But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.

6: So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper?  arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.

7: And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us.  So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.

8: Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation?  and whence comest thou?  what is thy country?  and of what people art thou?

9: And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.

10: Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this?  For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.

11: Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us?  for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.

12: And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.

13: Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.

14: Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee.

15: So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.

16: Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.

17: Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah.  And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”


Jonah 2:1: “Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly,

2: And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.

3: For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.

4: Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.

5: The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.

6: I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.

7: When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.

8: They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

9: But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed.  Salvation is of the LORD.

10: And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.”


Jonah 3:1: “And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,

2: Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.

3: So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD.  Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey.

4: And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

5: So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

6: For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.

7: And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:

8: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.

9: Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

10: And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”


Jonah 4:1: But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.

2: And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country?  Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.

3: Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.

4: Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry?

5: So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.

6: And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief.  So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.

7: But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.

8: And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.

9: And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd?  And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.

10: Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:

11: And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?”


What if Jerusalem and Judah had repented at the preaching of Jesus? Is it possible that the bitter cup of death would have been taken away? Many get angry at this question, and heatedly say, “No!” Yet, what if repentance had taken place?


Matthew 26:36: “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

37: And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.

38: Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

39: And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

40: And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?

41: Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

42: He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

43: And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.

44: And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

45: Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

46: Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.”


Yet, that repentance did not happen.


John 1:10: “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

11: He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”


Luke 13:34: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!

35: Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”


Luke 19:1: “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,

42: Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.

43: For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,

44: And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”


God knew that the world would deny and reject His only begotten Son.


Acts 2:22: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

23: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

24: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

25: For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:

26: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:

27: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”


But, looking at Nineveh, we can always wonder, “What if?”



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