Let’s read Matthew 12:38-40, “Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

It’s amazing that this request for a sign from the Lord came right after the Lord had performed a miracle in their presence. We read in Matthew 12:22, “Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.” Even after witnessing this miraculous healing, the Pharisees accused the Lord of doing this by the power of Beelzebub (Satan). Now, the scribes join with the Pharisees and ask the Lord for a sign to authenticate His message and His teachings. In Matthew 23:13, 14, 15, 23, 25, 27, and 29, the Lord repeatedly called the scribes and Pharisees ‘HYPOCRITES.’ The word hypocrite means ‘actor’. These people put on a show of being spiritual, they were not spiritual at all, and the Lord knew their hearts!

He would not give them a sign, in fact, He characterizes them as “evil and adulterous.” These people were called evil because they refused to see and acknowledge that Jesus was their long expected Messiah. We read in John 1:11, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” They were called adulterous because they were unfaithful to their God. We read of that adultery in Jeremiah 3:20, “Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD.” After seeing the Lord perform a great miracle, and after hearing Him teach, the Lord knew they would not believe on Him, even if He performed one more miracle.

He did tell them that a sign of who Christ was could be found in “the sign of the prophet Jonas.” Jonas, in the belly of the great fish for three days and nights (read Jonah 1:17) was a sign, or type, of the Lord Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection for the sins of all. The Lord Jesus said in John 5:39, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” Of course, He was speaking of the Old Testament for the New Testament was not in existence at this time. The OT consistently speaks of Christ and Jonah was a ‘sign’ or ‘type’ of Christ. We also read in 1 Corinthians 10:11, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” The things that are written of in the Old Testament happened so that we might learn from them. Do you realize that Jonah was a ‘sign’ of Christ? Do you believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died, was buried, and raised against so that you might, through faith in Him, receive a full pardon from your sins and have eternal life? (227.8)