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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1056. The sign of Jonah (15/5/24)

This week, in our devotionals, we are focussing on Luke 11:29-32. Today, we consider what is meant by ‘the sign of Jonah’. 

‘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.’ (Luke 11:29-30)
‘He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.  For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.  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.’ (Matthew 12:39-41) 

Lesson: ‘The sign of Jonah’ is that as Jonah was 3 days in the depths of the sea, so Jesus’ 3 days in the grave and His resurrection are a sign that we are lost but can be found through faith in Christ. 

You can listen to this devotional at:

In the book of Jonah, we see that Jonah was called by God to go and preach to the people of Nineveh. However, Jonah disobeyed God and ran away on a ship in the opposite direction! As a result, God sent a storm, which led to Jonah being thrown overboard and swallowed by a large fish. Here, in the dark and deep for ‘three days and three nights’, He will learn humility, prayer and worship. 

The story of Jonah is a ‘sign’ because it foreshadowed Jesus' own death and resurrection; Jesus was  ‘swallowed up by death’ for three days before rising from the dead. The miracle of Jonah’s very strange circumstances is a reminder of Jesus’ death and resurrection for our freedom and salvation. 

What does this sign of Jonah speak to us about?

i. It’s a Sign of mercy over judgement

Jonah ‘was a sign to the Ninevites’ - a sign of God’s wrath over their sin and a sign of God’s mercy when they repented; so Jesus - the gospel - is a sign of wrath and mercy. The sign of Jonah speaks to us of justification for peace in the place of wrath and judgement. As Jonah being thrown into the storm brought peace to the raging sea, and as his preaching led to peace rather than judgement, so Jesus being thrown into death for us has give us justification and peace with God no matter how we feel. 

ii. It’s a sign of hope

The sign of Jonah speaks of hope. As Jonah was vomited onto the shore so Jesus was raised to life. His resurrection speaks to us of our present resurrection life, and our future resurrection and the restoration of all things. 


‘The sign of Jonah’ is that as Jonah was 3 days in the depths of the sea, so Jesus’ 3 days in the grave and His resurrection are a sign that we are lost but can be found through faith in Christ.  When we are fearful or feeling condemned, let’s recall the sign of Jonah. I’m sure that Jonah would never forget how his sin of disobedience led him to the depths of the sea. He would never forget God’s mercy in giving him a second chance at life. Likewise, let remember and celebrate how Jesus has raised us and given us new life. When we are depressed or feeling condemned and alone never forget the love of God shown through Jesus’ death and resurrection for you. Let’s be committed to taking Communion with the church which is the ultimate way to remember Jesus' death and resurrection - the sign of Jonah. 



This week is ‘SIV’ Week. During our time together, let’s give more focus to how we are bringing our community to Jesus through Serving, inVesting and inViting.

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Please ensure that the members of your group are aware and familiar with using the daily devotionals, which are accessed in Church News, the Teaching button on the website and are now available on the major podcast platforms. 

2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? 

3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.

4. Study and pray together

Our message from our series in Luke on Sunday, based upon Jesus’ teaching  from Luke 11:29-32. Here, in response to opposition and requests for Jesus to prove Himself by given them more signs, He responds by telling them that they will be given the ‘sign of Jonah’. 

Please read Luke 11:29-32, and discuss: 

  • Did God speak to you about anything specifically from Sunday’s message?

  • What is meant by ‘The sign of Jonah’ (See also Matthew 12:39-41)?

  • We are to continue to share about ‘the sign of Jonah’ with our community; why should this be the focal point when sharing our faith (See 1 Corinthians 15:1-4)?

  • Why does Jesus use the response of ‘The Queen of the South (Sheba)’ and that of the Ninevites in order to shame the religious leaders, whom He terms ‘This wicked generation’? 

  • Jesus shows how the Queen of Sheba and the those of Nineveh respond to the words of Solomon and Jonah. Jesus then compares Himself to these characters as ‘something greater…is here’. Through this, how does Jesus expect us to respond to His Word? 

  • SIV - What three different responses to God do we get in this passage, and what does this say about how people will respond to us?

  • SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  • SIV - Spend some time together talking and praying about who and how you are seeking to bring your community to Jesus. 

  • Let’s pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV; and pray for anything else that's come out of our time in God’s Word.

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