When arguing for the resurrection of Jesus, Christian apologists often make a historical case for the empty tomb and the appearances of Jesus that occurred after his death. I’d be the last person in the world to say that isn’t a legitimate way to argue, but there’s an additional reason to believe in the resurrection that flies under the radar: Jesus’ resurrection was a fulfillment of Scripture. The New Testament writers are pretty emphatic on this point.
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead… (Luke 24:45-46)
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…(1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
Here’s where I’ve always been puzzled — the phrase that the Messiah was to be raised from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures. What scriptures exactly are Luke and Paul referring to? Could it be the sign of Jonah that is mentioned in Matthew and John? And with all due respect to Jesus, isn’t the story of Jonah a weird parallel?
In this episode, I discuss there’s more to the ‘Sign of Jonah’ prophecy than what we normally think of. It’s actually a very powerful piece of evidence that strengthens the case for the resurrection.
- The Resurrection and the Sign of Jonah by Dr. Brant Pitre (video)
- The Sign of Jonah by Dr. Mike Licona (video)
- The Case for Jesus by Brant Pitre (book)
- Paul Meets Muhammad: A Christian-Muslim Debate on the Resurrection by Mike Licona (book)
- Fulfilled Prophecy or Fish Story? What Did Jesus Mean When He Said the Resurrection Was the “Sign of Jonah”? by myself (blog post)
Erik is a Reasonable Faith Chapter Director located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He’s a former freelance baseball writer and the co-owner of a vintage and handmade decor business with his wife, Dawn. He is passionate about the intersection of apologetics and evangelism.