Month: April 2024


The Resurrection and the Sign of Jonah – A Family Bible Study

Did you know that there is one Old Testament prophet whose story serves as a picture of the resurrection of Jesus? In preparation for Sunday, here’s a Bible study idea to do with your family.

When the Scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign, He said something very interesting: “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just 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” (Matt. 12:39-40).


Family Discussion Questions:

  1. Why did Jesus point to Jonah as a sign? Make a list together about how the events in the book of Jonah foreshadowed the life and ministry of Jesus. You can read Jonah 2 together for ideas.
  2. Read Matthew 12:41. How is Jesus greater than Jonah?

Here is a list of ways that the prophet Jonah points to the One who is greater, Jesus:  

  • In numerous places in the Bible we see that water represents God’s judgment (such as during the flood of Noah). Jonah was cast into the deep, to the lowest depths of sea (Jonah 2:3). Jesus endured the full judgment of God when He died on the cross for our sin (Isaiah 53:5-6).
  • Jonah volunteered to be thrown into the sea to save the others in the boat (Jonah 1:12), Jesus volunteered to give up His life to save others (Heb. 10:7).
  • Jonah called out in his distress (Jonah 2:2), Jesus called out to God in His agony on the cross, “Why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46).
  • Jonah was “driven away from [God’s] sight” (Jonah 2:4), Jesus was driven away from God’s sight as pictured by the scapegoat in Leviticus 16:20-22.
  • While in the fish, Jonah said, “Yet, I will again look upon your temple” (Jonah 2:4), Jesus foretold on many occasions that He would rise again (John 2:19).
  • Jonah was in the fish for three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17). Jesus was in the grave for three days and three nights (Matt. 12:40).
  • The fish could not hold Jonah, it vomited him out (Jonah 2:10). The grave could not hold Jesus! He was resurrected the third day.
  • Jonah’s deliverance resulted in many Gentiles (all of Nineveh) turning to God. Because of Jesus’ resurrection, the gospel has gone out into all the world with myriads coming to Christ.

Most people know the story of Jonah being swallowed by a great fish, but many don’t think about the deeper sign that is pictured—pointing to Jesus rising from the dead.

This week as we celebrate the Resurrection, may we marvel in the depth of God’s plan, and the hope that we have because Jesus Christ lives!


This article was written in our March 2024 newsletter.  You can sign up for the monthly newsletters here