A practicing Jewish man would have heard the story of Jonah being sent by God into Nineveh to preach a message of repentance or else God will take action against them. When John the Baptist and Jesus came preaching the same message, how come the Israelites didn’t stop what they were doing and react like the Ninevites? Why was Jesus, despite his public following, respected like Jonah?
Some theologians will argue it had to happen this way because if Jesus was respected across the land, he may not have been put to death and completed his mission. Others resonate with the message of “you cannot be a prophet in your own town.” Either way we hear today from Jesus that something greater than Jonah is here.
Imagine walking into the Bills locker room exclaiming someone greater than Steve Tasker is here, in your midst! You’d be laughed all the way back to the parking lot. Humans unintentionally struggle to move on from stories of the greats, it's hard to imagine someone better will come.
Put yourself today in the shoes of one of those Israelites crowding around Jesus who is preaching to the crowd. Would you take his word lightly because you are comparing him unfairly to Jonah? How often are we not open to a new way of doing things or lack giving our support and trust to new leadership because you don’t think they can out do the previous?
Repent. Seek a deeper relationship with Christ. Do not be like the Israelites in the desert who disobey God. Listen to those “Jonah’s” in your life, who is trying to help you through a hard time?