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The Sign of Jonah

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
March 12, 2021 7:00 am

The Sign of Jonah

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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March 12, 2021 7:00 am

We observe Good Friday to commemorate the day that Jesus was crucified, but should we really be celebrating Good Thursday instead? On this broadcast of The Bible Study Hour, Dr. Boice provides fascinating insight into the historical context and timing of Christ’s death and resurrection. And we’ll learn how it all relates to the prophetic sign Jesus gave to the Pharisees the sign of Jonah.


We observe Good Friday to commemorate the day that Jesus was crucified but should we really be celebrating good Thursday instead on this broadcast of the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce provides fascinating insight into the historical context and timing of Christ's death and resurrection, and will learn how it all relates to the prophetic sign, Jesus gave to the Pharisees the sign of Jonah to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act quickly.

Jesus didn't live three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, but he did come teaching the truth of God and calling people to repentance. Let's listen in together and learn why Jesus compared himself to the Old Testament prophet Jonah Wade, one of the great Easter texts in the Bible comes from the 12th chapter of Matthew, in which Jesus is interacting with the Pharisees will ask him for a sign and he replies by giving them the sign of the prophet Jonah were helping our understanding of this by the context, which is what comes out of all our previous studies we went back to the verses that precede this will know that the Pharisees accuse Jesus of something really bad. He had been doing miracles among them, particularly casting demons out of those that were demon possessed couldn't deny the reality of the miracles, but they decided to explain it by saying that he did by the power of the devil. Jesus gave them a very reasonable answer on that score. He said Satan can't be casting out Satan because of a was doing that he be divided against himself and his kingdom wouldn't stand out a few other arguments as well. All of which should have been quite adequate to convince them they should have repented of their sins, and particularly that false accusation, but I didn't do it. Of course I hated Jesus and so rather than changing their minds. They simply came out them from another direction. What they said was show us a sign so I were really thinking up Jesus been doing.

Up to this point, but showing them signs all kinds of signs that recall that when John the Baptist in his prison began to wonder whether Jesus really was the Messiah or not he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question argue one who should, or should we be looking for somebody else and when Jesus replied that he replied, essentially by quoting from the Old Testament, but his words were these go back and report to John what you hear and say the blind receive sight lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear that debtor raised in the good news is preached to the poor is work through messianic signs and Jesus had been doing them, but they are still demanding something else and that demand was both insulting and impudent was also hypocritical because even the Jesus had done something for them produce some kind of a sign on demand, they still wouldn't of believed in Jesus knew that perfectly well that was exactly the same today or signs of been done for the people of our day then were gone and that day when the Pharisees were there with Jesus before the cross and the resurrection all kinds of signs of been done. We ought to ask what possible sign. Could Jesus provide that would convince an unbelieving generation, like our own answer is of course nothing at all like sometimes say facetiously God rearrange the stars in heaven spell out Jesus of Nazareth is my son repented of your sin and believe on him. People would look up scratch their heads and say is not interesting now. I wonder how that happened but I would naturally believe on Jesus Christ. This demand for assignment was impudent, unbelieving, hypocritical, all of the above, the many things beside the surprising thing is that Jesus gave them a sign anyway.

Said sign that I'll give is that since the sign of the prophet Jonah Matthew 1244 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 belly of the earth, one can read that without understanding at once and that's a prophecy of the resurrection is going to be crucified bearing and three days later is going to rise again just as Jonah was delivered from the fish. After that we day. That makes it great resurrection text at the same time and introduces us to a problem doesn't much hear you had Jesus talking about three days and three nights, but according to the traditional dating of the events of holy week. Jesus was crucified on Friday raised from the dead on a Sunday morning and that just as in three days I was true, but didn't Jewish video in order to speak of a day, you don't have to have a full 24 hour. You can have a part of the day so speaking of three days, the grave could be part of a first day like Friday and then Saturday a full day in a little bit Sunday. But while that helps you understand Texas speak about him being in the grave three days. It doesn't help. In this case because here Jesus is explicitly three days and three nights in the just no way of stretching that out and making it actually looked like three days so you have to account for three periods of light and three periods of darkness and that really is fatal to the traditional dating. I should add that there are other texts that show how that is difficult as well because if you can recall in the Emmaus disciples were on their way home after the resurrection of Jesus came to them and said why are you so downcast that they began to explain. I talked about Jesus in late said when they finally got around to the present moment.

It is now three days since all these things happened. By no stretch of language you pretend that something is three days after Friday. Now that's not the only difficulty was another winch of this one isn't quite so obvious. But if you take time to study all of the events of this final week. It emerges pretty quickly on the average, the Gospels spend about 1/3 of their time and space describing the events of this final week and what that means, of course, as we ought. I have a pretty fair and full account of what Jesus did these last days and so it seems you read them and as he does something one day something else. The following day and the following day when you put this all together and try to fit it into the week one day full day and perhaps even another day is missing that one day might be accounted for as the preceding Sabbath when Jesus rested indefinitely, but you can account for the other day.

What happened then it seems strange of the week is full. Is this a one whole day would be missing scholar, no less astute than Frederick go day one of the great commentators on the Bible solve the difficulty by saying what we call Palm Sunday didn't happen on Sunday must happened on Monday what he does is take six days and condense them into five by moving Palm Sunday, but you can understand in a moment that you can get the same effect by moving good Friday back the first, which is what I'm going to suggest and explain in just a moment, but that is the problem.

What is the problem is a more recent development is very hard to dates, events in the past because calendars were different back then. Generally, historians have to relate them to phenomena like earthquakes or perhaps solar eclipses the appearance of planets or comments on something like that. And they've tried to do that with events of the past, but they haven't always been sure exactly how to fit these things and now in recent days because of computers and all that they're able to plot exactly when full moons and new moons and things like that occurred in any given. In the past, and some years ago a Jewish man by the name of Herman Goldstein, wrote a book called new and full moons in order to plot exactly when the Passover what occurred in any year in the past and history. So you say well when he's done that as we come up with that Passover that would be on a Saturday in Dave before that Passover a Friday on any year around the time when we think the Jesus Christ must've been executed and the answer to that is that none of the data fits well the day before Passover fell on a Friday only in the year A.D. 26 which is too early and in the year A.D. 33 which most scholars agree is too late. We have three great problems with the traditional dating is a what are we going to do with the Missouri solution. I believe there is sleep obvious solution. Once we get over the idea that the traditional dating of good Friday has to be correct now.

It's an old tradition. Of course, very hard to overcome that sort of thing in the minds of people. What I want to suggest is that instead of there being one Sabbath during that week there were actually two Sabbath one was the normal Saturday Sabbath always came on a Saturday. As you know, all but the second one was the Passover Sabbath always on different days. It was always on the 15th of the month of Nissan and so it fell on different days of the week just like our Christmas box. Christmas is always on 25 December, so one year might be on a Monday another year and a Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, whatever it may be now suggesting that the second Passover Sabbath fell on Friday that year so you actually had to Sabbath back to back the Friday Sabbath, followed by the regular Saturday Sabbath and investigation. Jesus was actually crucified on Thursday. Now that actually solves all the problems that we are talking about. First of all, it's also the problem of the three actual days and three nights. You don't have to finagle references and say well it's part of the didn't really mean what they said of the phrase three days and three nights really only means three days and so forth was literally the case Jesus would have been crucified on Thursday about noon time he died by three in the afternoon and so let. From 3 o'clock in the afternoon until dusk by Jewish reckoning, is the first day I was followed by Thursday night followed by Friday day, followed by Friday night, followed by Saturday day, followed by Saturday night meeting the Jesus could have risen from the dead. Anytime after dusk on Saturday, but certainly before dawn on Sunday morning. That of course is what we find and read the gospel accounts because the women got up very early.

They went to the tomb were told one of the still dark, meaning the sun had not yet risen, it was just beginning to get light, but they found that at that moment the stone it already been rolled away and the resurrection taken place. Now all or several minor points that seem to support that.

For one thing, when the soldiers were responsible for guarding the tomb got back to the Jewish authorities and explain what it happened. I worked up the story and their explanation from my point on went like this, his disciples came by night and stole him away while we slept.

That would make sense of Jesus actually been raised from the dead. The angel of the pier.

The stone had been rolled back all during the night time before Sunday morning.

There's another little bit of evidence. Again, it's not evident in most of our translations, but it is striking that in Matthew's account of the resurrection. The 28th chapter of the very first verse he uses the word sabbaths in the plural text reads like this. In the end of the sabbaths plural as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week.

That's always been a puzzle to commentators and translators. Most of the translators just change it arbitrarily.

They say well it must be mistaken. So instead of saying sabbaths portal. They say Sabbath singular.

Your reading your Bible, the end of the Sabbath as it began to dawn of the first day of the week, but it is singular and plural explanation of the plural would be if there were, indeed, as I'm suggesting those two sabbaths on the second problem is solved as well. Each day of the week is accounted for. Just think back over what we know about these various days. First of all Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath Jesus is in Bethany, where he'd raised Lazarus from the dead, nobody's traveling on the Sabbath, but it's the time when people who live in Bethany can come to see it which they do and to see Lazarus will be raised from the dead. It's the last rest before the events of this critical week and something Mrs. literally Palm Sunday, Jesus enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey. First of all, made arrangements to secure the animal gets into the city goes to the temple area. He looks around, but it's already late.

By this time in oh he and the disciples simply returned from Jerusalem to Bethany, where they seem to spend every night about last week on Monday, Jesus returns to Jerusalem on the way he curses the fig tree symbol of the barrenness of Israel and it's a prophecy of what's coming to the nation Jerusalem. He cleanses the temple. This is the second cleansing John's Gospel gives an earlier one.

But he doesn't hear again and then he goes back to Bethany again Tuesday on the way back to Jerusalem. On this day that disciples find that the fig tree has withered off Jesus Christ explains what that's all about to go into the city. They see the temple there told the day is coming when it's going to be torn down on the way home, Jesus pauses on the Mount of olives to give a forecast of what can be expected.

So you really have prophecy is the theme of that particular day on Wednesday. Jesus sends the disciples to make preparations for the Passover. They eat the Passover together that night, but significantly without the Passover lamb. This was the day before Jesus was doing a day early because he knows what's coming and then he is arrested that same night as he tarries in the garden of the sum of the home. What would normally have been the normal trip back to Bethany Thursday Jesus was tried and eventually crucified. Now the trial begins on what we would normally call Wednesday night, but it's actually Thursday by Jewish reckoning completed in the morning, Jesus was crucified by noon after being taken to pilot. He has expired. By three in the afternoon. He's buried the same evening by Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea the women were watching all this, even to the point of seeing the burial decide that they want to anoint the body to go to buy spices when I was late in the day of the Sabbath is coming on.

I can't do anything more that day, so they spend Friday and Saturday in the city waiting for the first opportunity to anoint the body, which will be Sunday morning and those of the same days of Jesus spends in the two and he rises from the dead, sometime before the coming of dawn on Sunday morning so that's always a second problem is the third problem I pointed out that the day before Passover.

The 14th of Mason did not fall onto Friday between the years A.D. 26 A.D. 33 but what about Thursday, while strikingly 14th of Mason fell on a Thursday once during those years was one time perfectly fits the situation fell on a Thursday in the year A.D. 30, which is the most probable here for the crucifixion, even by a reckoning so putting that into the way we talk about days we could say with some certainty that the crucifixion of Jesus may be dated to April 6, A.D. 30 in the resurrection, dated April 9. All that is strong evidence for the truthfulness of Christianity is one reason why I've taken that much time to explain it chose the accuracy of the Bible, the divine self awareness and prophetic knowledge of Jesus and most of all, perhaps the importance of the resurrection as a verification of price claims the way of saying that the sign of the prophet Jonah is still the most important of all assignments.

Sadly, as we've already seen the signs are not always followed, and the evidences for so great a matter as the truthfulness of Christianity are often simply work. That's what Jesus talks about next. This is where the context of the prophecy really is very very helpful. The Pharisees and asked Jesus were assigned. Jesus had given them what it was a sign that would be sufficient to convince any rational person but they're not rational where Jesus is concerned with the spiritual matters are not about to surrender to him. And Jesus is under no illusions at all about what's going to happen. Knows of the crucifixion is going to comment of the resurrection will take place.

He knows that they won't believe even then Zoe says that they're going to respond in a way on early, contrary to the way the people of Jonas day responded when he went and preached in the goes there and then these other pagans without any knowledge of the God of Israel whatsoever repented Jonas preaching and were saved while those of his own generation are going to perish. The only correspondence between the story of Jonah and the story of Jesus is that both involve a supernatural deliverance, but from that point on their utterly different people of Nineveh believed each generation in which Christ lived would not do which so Jesus says in very sobering language that in the final judgments. All, including ourselves, will stand before the bar of God's justice. The people of Nineveh are going to rise up in condemnation against the people of his day because they believed, with far less evidence of the people of Jesus day did not and not only the people of Nineveh, the Queen of the South Queen of Sheba who came to see Solomon in her day because she heard of his wisdom and his knowledge of the true God.

She will rise up in judgment against that generation. When I read this I tremble our own generation.

Don't you screw the Jesus was present in that day in a way that he is not physically bodily present.

Now this a lot more evidence Jesus claims today, including the evidence of his bodily resurrection was in that first Christian Century. I read somewhere that more than 20 prophecies were fulfilled in one 24-hour period. At the time of Christ's crucifixion and not only that Jesus was raised from the dad in the appearance of Jesus to his disciples, all of whom are scattering and unbelievably poor resurrection was so overwhelming and positive.

They were utterly transformed man before they been fearful.

Peter denied the Lord.

The Emmaus disciples were on their way home. It was all over, he was dead but he rose again were so convinced of the accident utterly change them and they went on in the world with the gospel and when they were faced with the choice between holding steady. To what they believe or dying.

They chose death, and so almost all of them gave their lives rather than deny their Lord Jesus story has been proclaimed down for all the centuries since that time, wives have been changed history has been all their good deeds of been done. All because of the name of Jesus Christ.

What should we say generation that's able to turn its back on that evidence and go its own way as our own generation fans.

Jesus tells us what to think because the very contexts pictures of little image for our minds. He talks about a man who is been delivered of an evil spirit had nothing of value to put in the evil spirits place so afterwards evil spirit came back. The man was possessed not by one evil spirit by seven describes a culture like ours is what Jesus was saying. He says you been delivered at your paganism. You heard the gospel but then when you reject fact is nothing there to fill the vacuum of your cultural soul and the last state of that society is going to be worse than the first.

Even while we live certainly afterwards when we face the final judgment was a serious matter. Talking about the resurrection. It's a time of joy and, indeed, it is where we reject the evidence is not a matter for joy in all it's a serious thing that involves final judgment to say what a grim chapter, and becomes even worse the next few verses because what were told there is a Jesus mother and brothers come to women stand outside. They say they want to see him and we read that in Matthew, we say we don't know quite what's going on here, but if you go to the parallel passage in Mark you find few verses before this incident that Mark explains exactly what they had in mind. They said he is out of his mind that it was crazy going to take a moment. That's why they wanted to see him as they were saying exactly what the seas were signed only in less complementary language.

The Pharisees that is possessed of the devil's family said he's crazy, very nice picture of Jesus family.

But what else could they think Jesus had said just moments before the people of Nineveh painted at the preaching of Jonah and one greater than Jonah is here and the Queen of Sheba came to hear Solomon one greater than Solomon is here. Any sane man say that is greater than the prophet Jonah are greater than King Solomon but one course. Unless is the King of Kings Messiah, the son of God. That's really the issue is this what it's all about what these chapters of Matthew are all about Jesus's comments been proclaimed as the King. The question is been raised is a really good game. Is he really the Messiah is he the Savior.

That's a question that has to be answered at this point Jesus mother and the brothers couldn't say yes to that question we should note that later on they came to do, which after the resurrection they were convinced by that.

So we come to the first chapter of acts we find the disciples are worshiping in the upper room waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

His mother and his brothers are there worshiping along with all the others.

As for James's leading brother of our Lord, we find later in acts 15 that is there at that great church council God used to defend the gospel of salvation by grace alone, to say the important question for us is not whether they came to believe they did a good thing. The real question is do you and I believe it and what we follow Jesus.

That's why the chapter ends because we begin via Jesus saying something about his family.

They said to him your families outside here there waiting to speak to Galen and Jesus said who is. My family was my mother and my brother and my sisters and then he pointed to his disciples, that is, those were following him also had heard his word about denying themselves, taking up the cross going in his way. He pointed to them and he said here are my mother and my brothers or whoever does the will of my father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother will of my father.

What is the will of the father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What is the will of God.

You know the answer to that as well as I do, will of God is that you repent of your sin and you turn to Jesus Christ and trust him alone for your salvation is what God wants.

The evidence is there Christ is proclaimed. God wants you to do that right now it's prayer father. We are thankful as we talk about resurrection they were able to rejoice in indeed we do it at the same time very fact that you have provided that kind of evidence of the claims of Jesus Christ places great wage and responsibility on anyone who hears we grieve for our generation was heard. We labor in prayer for those we know who heard it yet have not themselves come to Christ we fear for them the same time return to you, and hope because you're a God of great mercy and we would ask according to the same mercy which you are brought us to faith in Christ. So you would work and others to bring them as well so that when that great day, we stand before the bar of your justice might stand in the righteousness of Christ.

They are in the victory of his death and resurrection united with all those from all ages who have likewise professed his name and sing together praises of our Lord, the great marriage supper of the Lamb. Father, bless us that in we pray even in this hour.

Jesus, you are listening to the Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview.

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