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Jonah Whines, Jesus Weeps

Loved Ones,

As we wrap-up six weeks in The Gospel According to Jonah, may our adoration and affection for Christ our Savior rise to greater heights.

What a stark contrast between Jonah & Jesus!
  • Both of them are messengers from a gracious God to a sinful people.
  • But Jesus went eagerly and joyfully, while Jonah went kicking and screaming.
  • Jonah fled from God’s calling in rebellion, running away from his enemies. Jesus embraced God’s call in wholehearted devotion, running toward His enemies, knowing full well we would reject and crucify Him.
  • Jesus embraced God’s mission with joyful abandon—Jonah resented God’s mission with bitter derision.
  • Both were sacrificed so that others could be saved—only Jonah was thrown overboard with a hardened heart of disobedience, while Jesus willingly threw Himself into the storm of God’s wrath with a heart of sacrificial love.
  • Both Jonah & Jesus spent three days in darkness. But unlike Jonah, Jesus emerged from the tomb determined to pursue His enemies with a love that would not let them go. Jonah, on the other hand, could not wait to get out of their sight.*
  • And in the scenes we read on Sunday morning, we see both these prophets stationed on the outskirts of a great city looking in.
  • Jonah is waiting with bated breath, hoping that perhaps God’s judgment may fall on Ninevah after all.
  • Jesus is lamenting the fact that there are many in Jerusalem who are soon going to experience God’s judgment.
  • Jonah is staying as far away as possible, not wanting to experience contact with those he deems unworthy of God’s mercy.
  • Jesus is moving toward the city, fully identifying himself with all their sin and sorrow—ready to put himself on a Cross to rescue them from the punishment their sins deserve.
  • Jonah is whining in self-pitying concern for his own comfort.
  • Jesus is weeping.
*(Some of these thoughts were inspired by Tullian Tchividjian’s great book, Surprised by Grace—a book I wholeheartedly recommend reading!)

God is holding a mirror up to our hearts through the experience of this Old Testament prophet—he’s revealing the Jonah who lurks within each of us. But more importantly, God is pointing us to One greater than Jonah, our Lord Jesus Christ, who loves us with a love that will not let us go. Just as God did not give up on Jonah, so will he never give up on us.

Our assurance of God’s unfailing grace frees us to face the Jonah within, to repent, and to seek the transforming work of the Holy Spirit as he patiently conforms us to the image of Christ.

Let’s ask Jesus to give us his heart for people.  What an amazingly gracious and compassionate Savior he is! Let’s ask him to teach us how to weep with him.

Kept with you in our Savior’s amazing love,

David Sunday