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Spoiler Alert

Those who review books or movies online sometimes include a spoiler alert. They want unsuspecting readers to be warned about the reveal of the key elements in the plot that might ruin the surprise. There are some people, however, who love to know how a story ends even before it begins.

Jesus’ death and resurrection should not have come as a surprise to anyone. He revealed the plotline of His own story before it unfolded. In Matthew 12:38–45 Jesus hints at His resurrection to His enemies by speaking of “the sign of Jonah.” Some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law had asked Jesus to perform a miracle to prove that He was Israel’s Messiah. By this time Jesus had already performed many miracles in their sight. The religious leaders claimed that He did these things by the power of Satan instead of the power of God (Matt. 12:24).

Jesus offered an explicit prediction of His death. Just like Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days, “so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (v. 40). But Jonah did not remain in the belly of the fish, and though Jesus did not say it explicitly, the comparison with Jonah also indicated that He would not remain in the grave.

Unfortunately, this would not change the thinking of those who demanded miracles from Him. While the people of Nineveh repented after hearing Jonah’s message, many who heard Jesus would not (v. 41). The parable of verses 43–45 adds a solemn note of warning for those who refuse to take Jesus at His word. Those who reject the light of Christ give themselves over to the power of darkness.

>> Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! To each of you, we send greetings on this Resurrection Day. What a wonderful time to celebrate the greatest miracle of all: the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May you have a day filled with rest and rejoicing.

BY Dr. John Koessler

Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. John and his wife Jane enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan. A prolific writer, John’s books include The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody), and True Discipleship (Moody). John is a contributing editor and columnist for Today in the Word.

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