“…for they repented at the preaching of Jonah…”
– Luke 11:32
King Solomon was a well-respected king. We are told that his wisdom was unlike any other, and it indeed showed. He was one of the only kings, besides his father, to rule over all twelve united tribes of Israel. So loved and honored, dignitaries from other nations came to see him and his kingdom. Even with all this fame, it is incredible that Jesus identifies himself more with a character like Jonah than He does with Solomon.
A “greater than Solomon” was here, as Jesus proclaimed, but He was more like Jonah than we initially perceive. Not only that, the Lord associates Himself more with Jonah than He does with Solomon. Christ never says He will be rich and famous as the wisest king was but rather poor and meek. I believe the Lord’s desire was to be associated more with truth rather than popularity.
Solomon was a king over a united kingdom, yet Jonah was a prophet to a divided country. Before Amos came along, Jonah was the prophet to the ten tribes of Israel, the Northern tribes. However, the prophet would be sent to preach repentance to a pagan nation, Ninevah. It would be unheard of for a Jew, with political distaste and religious superiority, to head to such a land. However, we serve a merciful and loving God, and that is where Jonah was to go.
I believe Jesus associated Himself more with Jonah because they both came from Galilee. Jonah would eventually be three days and nights in the depths and then resurrect onto the shore. Jesus died on the cross and was raised on the third day. And, as Jonah was sent to a pagan nation to preach repentance, Jesus came and died once…for all! He died for the sins of the world that “whosoever believes in Him will have everlasting life!” A greater than Jonah is here and yet many are still not saved!
“For 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.”
– Matthew 12:40