The Bible: The Power of Rebirth

The Sign of Jonah

The Sign of Jonah

Reflection on the Gospel of the Monday
In The Twenty-Eight Week Of Ordinary Time

 

Luke 11: 29-32

What is the Sign of Jonah that Jesus Spoke about?

Jonah was a prophet of Yahweh, and he was asked by Yahweh to preach repentance to the City of Nineveh (Non-Israelite), for its devious and evil ways. Jonah as a prophet who understood God’s Heart, ideally should have obey his instructions without asking questions or disagreeing with his instruction. On the contrary, Jonah sought to run away from his assignment. The question to ask here is why. And the answer is straightforward, he knew what awaited his country at the hands of Nineveh, 50 years in the future. Nineveh/Or as Assyria as we would know it, would come and swoop down on the Northern Kingdom of Israel (10 Tribes), and completely annihilate it. And Jonah knowing this, wanted to sort of twist God’s Judgement against Nineveh, and avoid their repentance and bring forth destruction on Nineveh, thus saving North Israel from its coming fate.

We all know the story of Jonah getting unto a ship to Tarsus, to get away. Being thrown into the sea, and dying. But in the process the Psalm that is attributed to Jonah, speaks of Jonah’s acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty and the perfection of His ways/plans, and Jonah being ready to complete his mission. And God gives life back to Jonah. Jonah than goes to Nineveh, he supposed Nineveh would resist this message from a foreign God, on the contrary, they paid heed and repented, all of them, even the animals.

The question to ask here is what happened to Jonah after this. How did Jonah’s experience with running away from the will of God and this encounter with death come to be known by others. Possibly after his death and being given life again, and Nineveh’s Repentance, Jonah must have hurried back to North Israel to tell them about the coming destruction, and asked them to repent and come clean before Yahweh. Did North Israel believe? History tells us that North Israel was utterly destroyed by Assyria, its good for something residents were settled in 5 different corners of the Assyrian Empire, and five foreign nations brought in to populate the Land of North Israel, alongside the maim and weak Israelites who had been left behind in the land.

The sign of Jonah is then a reminder to the Jews (mostly constituting the remaining two tribes of Israel), that just as North Israel was no more, so shall it be their fate, if they did not open their eyes and believed in God’s Mercy and Love for them – in and through the actions of the Messiah. The Messiah would die and rise just like Jonah, to give them hope.

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