LESSON 2:The Duration of Jesus Entombment Lessons

In predicting His death and resurrection, Jesus provided a sign to His generation. He said he would be in the heart of the earth for an interval equivalent to the time Jonah spent in the belly of a great fish- three days and three nights.
Jesus said: “this is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the ninevites, so also will the son of man be to this generation” (Luke 11:29, 30). Matthew 12;40 is more specific in describing what that sign was:”for 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 heart of the earth.”
Jonah 1:17;2:10 reports Jonah’s encounter with the great fish :”the lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights… and the lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.” Jesus likens the length of his own impending entombment to Jonah’s experience of being in the belly of a great fish for three days and three nights.
The sign of Jonah consist primarily of three events:
1.He was swallowed by the fish, an event Jonah likened to going down into the grave, “ from the depths of the grave I called for help… you brought my life up from the pit (grave), O Lord my God” (jonah2:2,6).
2.He spent three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish(1:17).
3. He emerged from the belly of the fish alive(2:10). Jesus application of Jonah’s experience to His impending death, burial, and resurrection is obvious. He would put to death, be buried and after the third emerge from His grave alive, as the risen Lord! (mark 8:31).
The three day’s of Jesus entombment is of great significance. John’s Gospel reported that the Jew’s demanded a miraculous sign of from Jesus (2:18). He had driven the moneychangers and sellers of livestock from the courts of the temple, and they wanted to know by what authority He had done this. Jesus answered their demand by saying, ‘Destroy this temple, and I will raise it in three days’’(v.19). Jesus gave them the requested sign, revealing that His impending entombment and resurrection would be for three days . However, the Jew’s did not understand. They thought that He was talking about the temple edifice and not His body.(v.21)
Much of the twelfth chapter of Matthew reports the controversy over Jesus identity as the Messiah and the Son of David (v.14-23). Refusing to believe the best about Him, the Pharisees accused him of doing His mighty works, including casting out demons, by the power of Satan (v.24-37). At the end Jesus reply to that charge, some of them asked Him for a sign (v.38).His answer took a form of a rebuked against their unbelief, though He does agree to provide one sign of Prophet Jonah’s time in the belly of the fish with that of Jesus time in the earth (v.40).
The most important aspect of Jesus sign were His sacrificial death for the sin of the whole world and his miraculous resurrection. New Testament writers testify of the redemption He provided to all who believes in Him through His death. ’’For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed... But with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect’’ (1 peter 1:18, 19).John said, He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sin of the whole world.(1 john2:2). Paul wrote, ‘In him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7). The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ brought salvation to al who believes upon His name: If you confess with your mouth,’ Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your hearth that God raised him from the death, you will be saved (Roman 10:9)
The resurrection of Jesus confirmed that He is the Messiah, our Saviour and Lord. On the day of Pentecost, Peter gave powerful in his explanation of the day events witness to a confused crowd. God has raised this Jesus to life... Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:32,36) . Paul confirmed that the resurrection provided Jesus identity when He wrote, who through the spirit of Holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord’’ (Roman 1:4).
The signs of Jonah that Jesus applied to Himself as confirmation of His messiahship (Matthew 12:38-40) is threefold.
1. It confirmed Jesus death on the cross.
2. It says that Jesus, like Jonah in the fish belly, was in the grave three days and three nights.
3. It testifies of His resurrection.
The signs are incomplete if these facts are omitted. Paul wrote of these elements as central to the gospel: ‘’By these gospel you are saved... That Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:2-4).
The death of Christ and his resurrection are the most important elements of Jesus sign, but Paul made them inseparable from the duration of his entombment. Without these three elements, the sign is incomplete and must not be referring to the Jesus and messiah that died for the salvation of mankind.
Why is it so difficult to believe that Jesus was entombed for three full days three full nights if we believe He died, was buried, and rose again from the dead? Shouldn’t we also believe His prediction that the duration of his entombment would correspond to the length of time Jonah was entombed in the fish? It is an important part of the sign He gave as to mark the real Messiah.
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