The sign of Jonah excerpt - Bodie
Matthew - Biography of the King
The King is informing the nation that the end has come. It is useless to ask Him now for signs. He had given mighty signs already; but an evil and adulterous generation could not be changed morally by signs. One sign He would yet give them, "the sign of the prophet Jonah," who had lain in the belly of the great fish, for three days and three nights. Jonah, who was as tho' raised from the dead, had been a sign to the Ninevites who repented at his preaching. But the Son of Man, who will in reality be in the grave three days and three nights, rejected and cast out by the world, will preach in vain by His resurrection. They, more hardened than the people of Nineveh, will not even then repent. The Ninevites would rise up in the judgment and condemn them, so much the more as the Son of Man was greater than Jonah. The Queen of the South also would rise up in judgment; for she came from the end of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Here in their midst was the much greater whom they would not hear.
The prophet Jonah was a double sign, to Israel first, as we have noted, of Christ as dead and risen; and then of themselves. They like the disobedient servant Jonah, were cast out into the midst of the nation (the sea), where they have been submerged for almost three thousand years; as the ten tribes were scattered some seven hundred years before Christ came. But one of these days, the world like the fish, will empty them out on dry land, Palestine, and they, as Jonah, will preach repentance to the Gentiles and thereby nations will be saved.
But now the Lord continues His words of rebuke for their unbelief. He predicts the end of that boasting, self-righteous generation, who rejected their Messiah. They were cleansed from idolatry; but it was only as if the evil spirit had gone out for a moment, of his own volition, not cast out. Therefore he would return and with seven other spirits more evil than himself dwell therein. Hence the last state of Israel will be worse than the first. Later He gives them some of the details of that awful time, as is recorded in the twenty-fourth chapter of this Gospel of Matthew.
While the rejected King is still speaking, we have a most significant occurrence recorded - His mother and His brethren came, desiring to speak with Him. We read in Mark's record that even His friends thought that He was beside Himself (chap. 3:21), which no doubt gave rise to fear that He would go too far in His mistaken zeal and the Jews would harm Him. Hence, His family came to get Him away from the mob which were thronging Him. Alarm for His personal safety brought them, tho' Matthew gives us no hint of this. He rather would connect the conduct of His family, in their unbelief as to His Deity, while acknowledging and claiming Him as one with them after the flesh and with that of the whole nation. The latter would have accepted Him, after He had wrought His mighty signs and wonders, if He had not reproved their evil deeds and shown up the filthy rags of their self-righteousness. He manifested in the constitution of His Kingdom, the Sermon on the Mount, the absolute holiness of its requirements. That necessitated the death of the old creation and this stirred their rage. He rejected them after the flesh. They rejected Him after the Spirit. As Son of David they would accept Him. As Son of God they refused Him. Hence His action and words here are pregnant with meaning. "Who is my mother and who are my brethren?" He cries. Then stretching out His hand over His disciples, He said, "Behold my mother and my brethren; for whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother and sister and mother." No claim of the flesh was allowed or acknowledged. His Father is in heaven and He claims kinship with all those who do His Father's will. That implies a new birth, a heavenly life; for these only desire, or are able to do the will of God. Therefore He rejects them as the old creation; for they have rejected Him as the New Creation. And then we read, "He went out of the house," Israel's house, and He is still out. Their house is left unto them desolate, is that to which this points.