“Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, ‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’” (Matthew 12:38-40).
On what is commonly called “Easter” we celebrate the resurrection of The Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. The gospels record many of His miracles. In fact, there were so many things that Jesus did that John tells us even the planet would not be large enough to contain the books if all of His acts were recorded (John 21:25)! Large crowds of people “followed” Jesus because of the miracles He performed (John 2:23, 6:2,26). However, because the heart of man is naturally skeptical, many who saw or heard about these miracles would still not believe that Jesus was the prophesied Messiah. Thus Jesus tells them that He would perform one singular miracle that would prove His Messiah-ship, and that would be His resurrection from the dead (John 2:18-21).
The central message of the Apostles was the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (Acts 1:22, 2:31, 4:33, 17:18,32). An entire chapter in Scripture focuses on the resurrection of Christ and how that relates to those who have trusted in the “Good News” of that reality (1 Corinthians 15). Christ’s resurrection from the dead has given to us a lively hope (1 Peter 1:3)! Those who repent of their sin and trust in Christ’s all-sufficient sacrifice (Acts 2:21) will one day be raised from the dead (John 11:21-27).
The message that the angels gave to those who came to the place where Jesus’ body was laid was this: “He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.” (Matthew 28:6) Some sixty years after Jesus ascended into heaven (Acts 1:11), the Apostle John saw the Risen glorified Jesus on the isle of Patmos (Revelation 1:9-18). When John was taken up into heaven, he saw Jesus, the slain Lamb of God standing in the midst of the throne of God (Revelation 5:6). Prior to setting up His earthly kingdom, Jesus will return to earth from heaven (Revelation 19:11-16).
The sign of Jonah is the message that the price of atonement has been fully paid (John 19:30), and those who believe in Christ will one day be bodily raised from their graves as well (1 Corinthians 15:51-58). “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to Whom be glory for ever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36)