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The Sign of Jonah

Sweetwater Recorder

By Ronald G. Currell

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church,

Jesus said, "there shall no sign be given unto you, but the sign of the prophet Jonas." And he left them, and departed.

Jesus was on the cross, enduring much deeper agonies than a mere torturous death. For He who knew no sin was made to become sin and for the first time in eternity Jesus was separated from Himself. That is, from the essence of the Godhead.

As He hung there, those that passed by scorned Him, "You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself!" The Messiah they expected, the son of David, could do this. Even those among the chief priests mocked him, "Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross that we may see and believe." That was the kind of Messiah they expected. But Jesus was not the kind of Messiah they expected. He was not the kind of king they expected. Although He could do all these things and more, He would not. For that was man’s way. Jesus, the Father’s Messiah, would do it God’s way.

Pilate had written a title and had put it on the cross. And the writing said,

"JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS".

But the religious leaders of the Jews had already rejected that, when they said, "We have no king but Caesar." So, Jesus of Nazareth did not die as the son of David, the king of the Jews. Instead, Jesus of Nazareth died as the king of the world.

Then came the end. And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God!"

The Son of God was taken down from the cross and buried in a borrowed tomb. The earth swallowed Him whole into its belly, as a whale swallowed Jonah. But as the whale of long ago had given up Jonah to the land, the earth gave up Jesus to life.

Jesus Christ was no longer dead. He had risen according to the Scriptures and had fulfilled all He had said.

Just as the people of Sweetwater need different Christian experiences, the various Christian Churches offer different expressions of the same faith. St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church offers a quiet, respectful hour dedicated to God every Sunday Morning at 11:00 AM, preceded by a thought-provoking Bible Class at 9:45, where we discuss intriguing passages from the Scriptures. Drop by some time. See us on the Internet and experience our online chapel at www.ststephens.net.

Please make plans to attend your Church-of-choice this coming Sunday.

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