Day 20

Jesus Is The True & Better Jonah

from the Advent 2015: Born Is The King reading plan


Jonah 1:1-17, Jonah 2:1-10, Mark 4:35-41, Colossians 1:15-20

BY Rebecca Faires

Text: Jonah 1:1-17, Jonah 2:1-10, Mark 4:35-41, Colossians 1:15-20

Looking for some fantastic proof of Jesus’ deity, the Pharisees asked for a miraculous sign. But Jesus firmly answered them, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah” (Matthew 12:39).

The sign of the prophet Jonah… what is that? A big fish drawing? I kind of wish it was. But the sign of Jonah is a sign of judgment for a “wicked and adulterous generation.” Jesus was condemning the Pharisees, like the Ninevites, as “those who cling to worthless idols” and “forsake faithful love” (Jonah 2:8).

We are still a wicked and adulterous generation. And as much as I’d like to think the problem is my depraved next door neighbor or the villain on the nightly news, the truth is, it’s me. I have the heart of Jonah. I have the heart of a Pharisee.

While I would very much like to stay out of the category of those who cling to worthless idols (and I don’t like to be called “wicked” or “adulterous”), I fear we are all quick to turn to idols. When I am afraid, I will trust in chocolate, soft blankets, and Netflix. My idols seem to crop up everywhere I look. Do you find you are inclined to run to your comforts instead of running to Christ?

Jonah is notorious for running away to hide from scary things. And, I agree, the Ninevites were scary; they used to cut off the thumbs and gouge out the eyes of enemies. A brutal group like that hardly seems to deserve grace, mercy, and salvation.

But God’s call to Jonah was clear. “Go!” Run toward probable death or mutilation. Run toward those who do not deserve your love. Run into the storm.

We need the same mercy that God extended to to Jonah, the Ninevites, and the Pharisees. We needed someone to run into the storm for us. We needed one who would run toward certain death. Even though we did not deserve His love, Christ is the true and better Jonah because He ran into the heart of darkness so we wouldn’t have to.

But like Jonah, we are quick to forget the mercy we’ve been shown, and quick to take for granted the grace that kept us from drowning.

The sign of Jonah reminds us that another Jonah has come. Jesus entered the belly of the earth willingly. He put Himself in our place, cast over the side into the deep, bearing our curse. This true and better Jonah is slow to anger and abounding in compassion.

Jesus has calmed the storm of God’s judgment with His own sacrifice. As our lives were fading away, He raised us up from the pit. Despite all of our unfaithfulness, He offers His faithful love.

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Post Comments (124)

124 thoughts on "Jesus Is The True & Better Jonah"

  1. Charlotte Elizabeth says:

    I too am quick to “forsake faithful love” from my Heavenly Father and turn to any number of earthly conforts and coping mechanisms. I’m afraid I have gotten to a point in my faith where it is hard not to think that God must be getting tired of my inconsistent and wavering faith. Lord I believe, help my unbelief!
    Today was a much needed reminder for me.

  2. Kay says:

    Thank you for your prayers. My depression has lifted a lot. I’m so grateful. So often fear of what others think dominates my mind. That is a worthless idol. Would you please pray that God blocks those fears and calms the storm and that I rest in Him with humility and thankfulness. Thank you precious SRT sisters.
    I’m praying for you Emily and believing for you. I wonder if you meant that the Evil God of this world Satan himself was the one who intended you to never walk again not God the Father of Jesus Christ. Am I right? Covering you with my prayers
    Grateful to be His
    Kay

  3. TammyJ says:

    It seems I am constantly looking for comfort in places other than Christ… Even as I read this morning (with my hot cup of sweet and milky coffee) to not “fall behind” on my Advent Reading, I’m thinking (as I read!) about the “new episodes” of a show on Netflix! Really? Now, while none of that is necessarily sinful in or of itself, I AM having a tough time focusing this morning, and the content of the narrative could NOT have been more specific for me on THIS particular MORNING! God really used it to call me out on my soul alignment. :) My soul is so dominate. Father God, strengthen my spirit, that it may lead me in communion with Yours. Forgive me for giving in to my flesh and soul-ish comforts at times when Your Spirit desires my mind… My strength and ability to focus comes from You, Father.

    1. JLB says:

      I know exactly what you mean. Why do I wake up everyday and make the same mistakes?! Your prayer is my prayer today. “Strengthen my spirit that it may be in communion with Yours.”

    2. Eeleah says:

      In the same boat!! Pun intended…. I feel like I turn to things in habit without even realizing! Lord break my habits and give me fresh eyes on my life that I may change to become more like u and in deeper relationship with u.

  4. Emily says:

    Alas, I can’t run towards anything anymore. I’m just thankful that I can walk some; I can’t ever forget that the cruel and unfaithful God originally intended for me never to walk again. ><

    1. Missy CM says:

      Lord God, I lift up Emily. Whatever the situation is, you know it inside and out. You see her aching heart and know that you knit her together, created each bit of who she is. Hold her close. Show her your mercy. Soften her heart.

    2. Jess says:

      Emily, I believe the God who allowed this terrible thing to happen in your life never desired sin to enter the world in the first place to allow things like that to happen. And I believe He intends for you to run and dance and jump for joy with Him for eternity in heaven. Right now He’s calling you to trust Him, seek Him, and love Him in the midst of circumstances that make those actions seem foolish. Jesus knows your suffering, but He has a good plan for you and He loves you very very much. ❤️

  5. Amanda says:

    I love that verse of one clinging to worthless idols instead of unfailing love. I could relate to today’s devotional and to Jonah really well today. It’s often difficult to see that tendency in myself but seeing myself in Jonah and seeing my need for Jesus has revealed to me that I run away from the presence of God to worthless idols. And why would I do that when I can run into His unfailing love? Even the sound of those words are comforting: unfailing love. And that’s what this season is all about: the comfort and joy of our Savior who camed into this dark world and was mutilated for my sake. How dare I put anything above Him.

    1. Eeleah says:

      Totally agree! I struggle too! It’s like I need a reminder literally on my forehead!

  6. Madison says:

    i am so quick to run to other comforts, when Jesus is the ultimate comforter. I think it’s because I forget that He does not bring condemnation, but grace. Whatever it is that has me feeling in need of comfort, He wants to love me and hold me through it. May I turn to Him more and more, as I understand each day just how full of grace our God is

  7. Love seeing how Jesus was always present from the beginning. Also makes me think about how quick I can be to run from Jesus instead of toward Jesus!

  8. Bek says:

    Jonah was more concerned with his own life than that of the lost Ninevites that he would rather disobey God.

    Jesus was more concerned for us who were lost that he laid down his life in obedience to God so we would be saved.

    Praying that I would become like Jesus; having compassion on the lost and seeing obedience to Him as more important than my life.

    1. Imi says:

      Yes Bek! I’ve never seen so many amazing correlations with the Jonah story and Christ’s.
      Jonah knew God had the power over the wind and the waves so he threw himself at it. Jesus showed himself to be God by calming it with a word, just as it had been created.

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