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Matthew 12:41

by Don Costello  
12/29/2008 / Bible Studies


The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold a greater than Jonas is here.

1. "The men of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonas;"

a. Jonah 3:1-10 "And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,
Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.
So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days journey.
And Jonah began to enter the city after a days journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the kings and his nobles, saying, herd not clock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:
But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and hi did it not."

b. There were 120,000 people in Nineveh.

1) Jonah 4:11 "And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and much cattle?"

2. "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas"

a. Christians will judge the world.

1). 1 Corinthians 6:1-3 "Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
Know ye not that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life?"

b. There is no doubt we will see the people of Nineveh in heaven (We will also see the Queen of the South, the Queen of Sheba, Matthew 12:42), and that they will participate in judgment with us against the world.

3. "a greater than Jonas is here."

a. There is no question that Jesus was referring to himself in this passage. But more is being said here than meets the eye.

b. Jesus said of John the Baptist that he was more than a prophet, indeed the greatest born of woman.

1). Matthew 11:7-11 "And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out in the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses.
But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.
For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."

a). Jesus was saying that John was not only the greatest prophet but also the greatest born of a woman. Why? Because he was the forerunner of the Messiah! It was his calling. But Jesus does not stop there, he goes on to say "that he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."

b). Jesus is saying that the least of those in the kingdom of heaven, the New Testament age is greater than John.

a. If he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than the greatest prophet, the greatest born of woman, where are we at? Most New Testament believers do not realize the greatness of their ministry.

1). Colossians 1:26, 27 " Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."

2). Ephesians 5:30 "For we are members of his body, and of his bones."

b. When we are living our lives to the glory of God, and being transformed into his imagea greater than Jonas is here!

My name is Don Costello. Ever since I received Christ in November of 1976 I have had a passion to study and know God's word.My wife Melissa and I have 5 children.

My e-mail address is

I have a blog located at:

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