Jacob has now lived with and worked for his uncle Laban for 20 years. Laban tricked him into marrying the older sister. Then Jacob worked another seven years to marry the younger sister. Then he worked six more years to earn some wealth. He agreed to take only those goats that were born with spotted or stripped fur (which was rare). God blessed him by having most of the flock born spotted or stripped. Laban’s sons are becoming agitated and the Laban is turning against Jacob so he is directed by God to leave and return to Canaan. Laban pursues him. They hash out their problems and eventually resolve them. They agree to make a covenant. Notice again that a covenant is more than just a deal or a contract. It is an familial agreement made with invoking the blessing of God. To seal the covenant Laban and Jacob make a sacrifice. The sacrifice is made and then the sacrificial animal is consumed. Genesis 31:54,
“He then offered a sacrifice on the mountain and invited his kinsmen to share in the meal. When they had eaten they passed the night on the mountain.”
This is the pattern God will repeat over and over – mountain, sacrifice, and meal. This pattern is the only way a sacrifice is acceptable to the Father and the only way of covenant can be made with a people. Thus if you wish to be in a covenant with God, you too must consume the sacrifice. How is that possible?
Today we see the Scribes and Pharisees ask Jesus for a sign. Jesus refuses to give a sign. Instead, He says the only sign that will be given is the “sign of Jonah”. That like Jonah spent three days in the belly of the whale, so the Son of Man will spend three days in the belly of the earth. This is a fairly unambiguous reference to his death and resurrection. What is particularly interesting it the Jesus then gives two Old Testament examples of Gentiles who heard about the God of Israel and repented. He contrasts them with the current generation of Jews who will reject him. They have the revelation of the messiah but they don’t recognize what is in front of them. That remains true of every generation. In our day we have the full revelation of Christianity, yet despite it being right in front of many people, they reject it.