The Sign of Jonah

Matthew 12:38–42; 16:1–4; Luke 11:29–32

Works of art by Simeon Ardjishetsi, Unknown artist, Italian school, and El Greco
Commentaries by Lauren Beversluis

Matthew 12:38–42; 16:1–4; Luke 11:29–32

Bible passage (Revised Standard Version)

Matthew 12

38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41The men of Ninʹeveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. 42The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.

16 And the Pharisees and Sadʹducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. 2He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather; for the sky is red.’ 3And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.

Luke 11

29 When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30For as Jonah became a sign to the men of Ninʹeveh, so will the Son of man be to this generation. 31The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. 32The men of Ninʹeveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.