Even Greater than Jonah
|Theme:||No other gods, idols; Salvation; Angels|
|Genre:||Bible Stories & Teac|
|Purpose:||Pre-evangelism; Evangelism; Teaching|
Scripts are basic guidelines for translation and recording into other languages. They should be adapted as necessary to make them understandable and relevant for each different culture and language. Some terms and concepts used may need more explanation or even be replaced or omitted completely.
From ancient times we have always known that people and things that are truly great, are worthy of our respect, praise, and honor.
We have ancient and authoritative texts in the Bible that tell us about great men of the past.
The Bible tells us that once a long time ago, there was a prophet named Jonah. One day, the word of the Lord came to Jonah. God told Jonah to go to the important, but very wicked, city of Nineveh and warn them.
God said that because of the evil ways of the people in that city, He would send destruction upon them.
Nineveh was the largest city in the world at that time. The city was located in what is now Iraq, near Mosul, on the east side of the Tigris River.
The people of that great city were enemies of Jonah’s people. They were violent and cruel people.
Jonah thought they should be destroyed. Jonah did not like God’s plan to warn them. Jonah did not want God’s word to go to Nineveh. Jonah realized that if the people of Nineveh believed the word of the Lord and were sorry and turned away from their evil, God might turn His judgment away and spare them from destruction.
Jonah tried to escape and run away from God. Instead of going east toward Nineveh, Jonah sailed away to the west on a ship headed for Spain.
Because of this God sent a great storm on the sea. The sailor’s lives were all in danger because of the storm.
Jonah admitted that God had sent the storm because of him. So the sailors threw Jonah into the sea, and the storm was calmed.
God had prepared a great fish, and it swallowed Jonah. From within the belly of the fish, Jonah prayed. He changed his mind, and he was sorry he had tried to run away. He asked God for forgiveness.
God directed the fish to swim to the shore and vomit Jonah onto dry land. Jonah had been in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights. He probably didn’t look very good when he was vomited out.
The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time. God told him to go to that foreign city of Nineveh, and give them God’s warning.
This time, Jonah obeyed. He went there and cried out to the people of that city, “In forty days, Nineveh will be destroyed!” The people looked at Jonah, and they believed him.
The whole city listened to the word of the Lord, and they turned from their evil ways. From the least person to the greatest, they knew how bad they had been, and they were afraid of God’s judgment. They became sorry for their sins. They all repented and called upon God to be merciful.
Because the people of that city listened to the word of the Lord, God held back His judgment, and more generations of people lived in that city.
We see from this story that Jonah was a great prophet! But we also see that the word of the Lord is much greater than Jonah. It was the powerful word of the Lord that brought about the salvation of a mighty city.
Many years later, Jesus claimed that He was even greater than Jonah. The Gospel of Matthew, 12:41 tells us, “The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.”
How could Jesus say such a thing? How could He claim that He was greater than the prophet Jonah?
Do you remember how the word of the Lord came to Jonah? Jesus is different. The Bible does not tell us that the word of the Lord came to Jesus; instead, it tells us that Jesus is the Word of the Lord, the Word who is alive, the living Word of God. The word did not come to Jesus, because Jesus is the Word.
The Gospel of John begins, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Later, the Gospel of John explains that Jesus is the one Who is the very Word of God.
In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 12, Jesus also claimed that he was greater than Solomon. Now King Solomon, the son of King David, had been given great wisdom from God. The fame of his wisdom spread through the world.
The Queen of Sheba traveled a great distance to hear King Solomon’s wisdom (as the Bible tells us in 1 Kings 10). Jesus said that He was even greater than Solomon. How could He say such a thing?
It is true that King Solomon was filled with wisdom from God. But the Bible tells us that Jesus is the wisdom from God. The book of First Corinthians chapter 1 verse 24 says, “Christ (the Messiah) is the power of God, and He is the wisdom of God.” Jesus is the living wisdom of God.
In Mathew 12 Jesus also claimed that He was greater than the Temple. The Temple was very great because the people understood that the majestic presence of God was there. People could not come into God's presence because of his holiness, but just outside the temple was the only place they could offer sacrifices to God. Because the law required sacrifices for sins, the temple was a very great place for all of the people.
Think about it! How could Jesus say that he was greater than the Temple? Jesus is greater because God made Him to be the sacrifice for all of man’s sin. John the Baptist said of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world.”
The Temple is no longer the way to God through sacrifices of our own making. Instead, Jesus is the way to God because of His own sacrifice. In the Gospel of John, chapter 14 verse 6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by Me.”
Jesus was the Lamb of God Who became our sacrifice for sin. Evil men put Jesus to death on a cross, and His body was sealed up in a tomb. But how can the living Word of God be dead? Just like Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days, Jesus’ body was in the ground for three days.
But just as the fish could not hold Jonah, the tomb could not hold Jesus! God raised Him from the dead to show that Jesus is greater even than the power of death. Angels came to give testimony of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Angels told people who were looking for Jesus’ body, that Jesus was alive.
Jesus is the Word of God, and that makes Him greater than Jonah and all the other prophets. The prophets received the word of God which came to them, but only Jesus is called the Word of God.
Jesus is the wisdom of God, and that makes Him wiser than King Solomon and all other wise men.
Jesus is the way to meet God, and that makes Him greater than all temples.
So Jesus is greater than them all.
This is why even the angels called Jesus the greatest. Surely, the angels have seen all the great things, since the beginning of the world. The angels have seen the greatness of the prophets, the wisdom of Solomon, and the greatness of the Temple.
When Jesus was born into the world, the angels announced his birth and gave testimony about Him. They appeared in a multitude, and sang a great song. What they sang was, “Glory to God in the highest.”
Their song points us to the fact that Jesus would bring the highest glory to God. The angels knew that Jesus would bring God the greatest glory, because they knew that Jesus is greater than all others. And this is why such a multitude of angels proclaimed his birth.
Later, angels also told about the resurrection of Jesus. In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 28 verses 5-7, the angels told the disciples the way to find Jesus. They declared that Jesus was alive again.
The angels told the way to find the One Who is the greatest of all. Jesus the Messiah is even greater than the angels.
Now and in the future, the angels will worship Jesus. In the last book of the Bible, Revelation, it says in chapter 5 verses 11 and 12: “And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.’”
We understand that because Jesus is the living Word of God, the living Wisdom of God, and the living Temple of God, no other prophet, no human king, no temple, and no angel is as great as Jesus, who has been given the title of Lord.
My friend, because Jesus Christ is greater than all, we also should honor Him and worship Him.
Because Jesus is greater than all and still loves us, we can trust Him, and we should pray to Him.
Since Jesus is the Word, we should believe His words and put into practice what He said. We should pay attention to what Jesus said in the Bible. We should repent of our sins like the people of Nineveh, and follow Jesus.
Since Jesus is the Wisdom from God, He can give wisdom to those who follow Him. To walk in wisdom, we should seek God’s counsel, be just with others, keep our word and our promises, and let others see Jesus in how we walk.
Since Jesus is the Way to God, we do not have to seek another way. We must stop making our own sacrifices, praying to idols or spirits, or observing superstitions or rituals. Jesus is greater than our fears or dangers. In Him we can have peace. Because of our faith in Him, one day He will take us to Heaven to live with God forever.