"Christ of the abyss," photo by microgen, Vetta Collection, courtesy of iStockphoto

Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.

~ Martin Luther

 

Bert Hinkler was the second pilot to safely cross the Atlantic. Although he was a better, more efficient pilot than Charles Lindbergh, no one knows Hinkler’s name because he wasn’t the first to accomplish the daunting feat.

The first law of marketing is that it’s better to be first than it is to be better.[1] Hinkler realized it.

  • Everyone wants to be the first at something.

Prospectors hurried to stake their claims in the gold rushes from Georgia to California in the nineteenth century. A person’s livelihood depended on the capacity of those claims to fulfill their hopes. Many hardworking miners failed to accomplish their dreams despite their ingenuity and determination.

  • The rewards depended on the object of the person’s faith.

Some struck it rich. Most gave up hope – because they had placed their faith on empty promises.

The Lord proclaimed:

“This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation.”

~ Luke 11:29-30, NKJV

When the people of Jesus’ day pressed Him to prove His claims as the Messiah, He responded that the only proof He’d give them was the sign of Jonah.

  • Jesus believed in the story of Jonah as truth.

The Lord wouldn’t base His credibility on what He thought was a myth. With what He had at stake, it would be ludicrous to claim He didn’t know it as truth.

  • The sign of Jonah was the most important verification to prove the Messiah’s identity and work.

If the sinful pagans of Nineveh could believe in Jonah’s story, then the unbelievers of Jesus’ day had ample opportunity to do so as well.

The Lord said:

“The men of Nineveh will rise up in judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.”

~ Luke 11:32, NKJV

  • Jesus performed a sign greater than the one of Jonah.

The first rule of marketing didn’t apply here. Although Jonah was the first to come back from certain death, his rescue paled in comparison to what Jesus did.

And Jesus staked His claim on it. He also staked our hope on this sign as well.[2]

 

  • What does Jesus’ statement about the sign of Jonah mean to you?