Day 16

Jonah

from the Lent 2016 reading plan


Luke 15:11-32, Romans 5:6-9

This is part of a 7-day series on Jonah in the Lent 2016 reading plan. 

The smiling felt-figure man next to the big, blue whale on the storyboards of our childhood: this is how many of us know the prophet Jonah. His story is memorable and fun to tell, a classic case of what not to do when God calls. But like all redemption stories, there is more to the book of Jonah than meets the eye. There is more to see than the irresistible spectacle of a man being swallowed whole by a fish.

Matthew Henry says the book of Jonah is “best understood by those who are most acquainted with their own hearts.” Because at its heart, Jonah is a story of salvation. It’s not about the fish. It’s not about the Ninevites. It’s not even about Jonah.

The book of Jonah is about the saving work of Christ and the boundless mercy of our sovereign God.

Jonah’s story foreshadows Christ’s sacrifice (we’ll see Jesus Himself draw this parallel in next week’s reading), but it also goes a step further: it illustrates the unreasonable forgiveness available to us because of Christ’s sacrifice.

A rebellious Jonah runs from God, repents when he sees of the vastness of his sin, and is pulled from the depths of his self-made pit by a merciful God.

A wicked Nineveh, undeserving of God’s compassion, repents and receives the same mercy.

Like the older brother in Jesus’ parable of the lost son in Luke 15, Jonah is angry at the Father’s unabashed display of mercy. He is ironically offended by God’s truly free grace—balking at the Lord’s mercy toward Nineveh while sighing with relief as he receives it for himself.

But grace is, by definition, undeserved. The distance between a sinful humanity and a Holy God can only be spanned by His saving mercy.

Like Jonah, the lost son, and the Ninevites, we too are invited to come clean. We are invited to repent and return to the arms of a God who pursues us at our worst, rescues us from our darkness, and rejoices over us as His beloved child.

May we hear the Father’s call as we read Jonah’s story. And may we be drawn to repentance, running toward the only One who knows and restores our wayward hearts.

Written By Amanda Bible Williams 

Post Comments (25)

25 thoughts on "Jonah"

  1. Jeremy Nelson says:

    I never have put the story of Jonah and the prodigal son together. Nor have I seen it as a story emphasizing God’s grace and mercy. It is interesting.

  2. Jeremy Nelson says:

    The whole intent of the Gospel is to bring us back to a state of purity before God and to bring him glory. In a sense our time in earth is a training ground. The real life will be an eternal one. We will be enjoying God’s grace and mercy for the rest of eternity. The longer we are there the more we will understand the depths of God’s goodness to us and his glory will grow each day.

  3. Jeremy Nelson says:

    Man seeks justice and fairness. This is ironic in a sense because Man deserves so much wrath. But we tend to keep our eyes on the faults of others who we consider to be worse than ourselves, heaping judgment on them and hoping for their destruction. This is our tendency. As ugly and self righteous as it is.

  4. Jeremy Nelson says:

    With humility

  5. Jeremy Nelson says:

    With thankfulness

  6. Adam H says:

    I will pray for my own relationship with God that I may be humble in knowing that I am fallen and cannot be saved without Christ. I will pray for those who do not know the grace of God and that they may find him like the prodigal son.

  7. Adam H says:

    Man is sinful and fallen. Each and everyone one of us need God’s grace. I think that we are all both the older brother and the younger brother at times. And we are all both Nineveh and Jonah.

  8. Adam H says:

    God’s grace knows no bounds. He can take the worst of all sinners and forgive them and His arms will always be open wide to each one of us. God’s grace is not something any of us deserve and yet it is gift we all can receive.

  9. Adam H says:

    I think the very essence of the gospel is grace and this is the message that this is teaching us. God sent his son because we are stained by sin and need grace.

  10. Adam H says:

    All of us are fallen and I need to be aware of this. I need to not see people and expect them to be perfect but to show them the love and grace that Christ has shown me.

  11. Ronnie T says:

    I will respond with thankfulness for God’s amazing grace. He offers me much more than I deserve.

  12. Ronnie T says:

    God is ever waiting on our return.

  13. Ronnie T says:

    The gospel is perfect love.

  14. Ronnie T says:

    Man is his own undoing.

  15. Ronnie T says:

    I will pray with gratitude.

  16. Daniel says:

    Grace is for the sinner; perhaps a phrase we hear but is often challenging to stomach. We like to believe grace is for the good, yet the beauty of grace is that it allows God to receive the sinner.

  17. Daniel says:

    God’s grace is extended not because we deserve it, but because of Love.

  18. Daniel says:

    We cannot earn this grace, and we must accept it.

  19. Daniel says:

    I need to exhibit this grace; to others; and particularly in this season, to myself.

  20. Daniel says:

    Lord, help me to receive your grace, as well as extend it. I pray against the lies, doubts, and condemnations that swirl within my mind. Help me to fully embrace your grace, and walk the path it leads me upon.

  21. Isaac Jones says:

    God loved man by dying for man while man murdered His son. God has mercy on the wicked.

  22. Isaac Jones says:

    I will respond by not struggling against God. I need to repent of my sin of faith-abandonment and obedience-abandonment.

  23. Isaac Jones says:

    The is the gospel: while we were yet sinners Christ died for us to reconcile us to himself. This teaches me that we are depraved souls dead in our trespasses and sins; seeing God we need to immediately repent like the Ninevites.

  24. Isaac Jones says:

    Man is sinful. Man is so sinful that the best way to describe him is as a murderer dead in sin. Man naturally seeks to run from God. In our most “organic” and natural state man is seen away from God. Man is in desperate need of God breaking through his sinful and rebellious heart.

  25. Isaac Jones says:

    Heavenly Father,
    I am like disobedient Jonah and wicked Nineveh at the same time. God break down my pride and wickedness and put me I. The arms of righteousness. Forgive me for my evil ways and please renew a right Spirit within me. Please do not cast me away from your presence, but resort to me the great joy of salvation; amen.

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