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.


Post Comments (124)

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

  1. katherine says:

    I’ve been having trouble keeping up with this study because this is such a busy time of year – I work retail, so my time is seemingly always spent at work. I’m in my senior year of college, so being on top of finals has been of the utmost importance. I’ve been pulled in a million different directions this month, and every few days when I have the time to catch up on these readings, I feel so calm and relaxed and centered. This one in particular is coming to me at such a good time. Love it!

  2. Susie McLain says:

    This was a great one. So relatable as I too turn to comforts instead of Christ first at times. But it’s nice to know I am not alone in the struggle, I always feel I am the only one. As if everyone else gets it but me. :-)

  3. Becca Bailey says:

    I absolutely often turn to comforts before turning to Christ – this devotional was both convicting and encouraging. Thank you!

  4. Jessica says:

    “Do you find you are inclined to run to your comforts instead of running to Christ?” This hit home for me. I’ve definitely realized this before today but it was a good reminder of how am I relying on the world to comfort me instead of my Father. We miss out on opportunities to shine His light through us when we snuggle up with our comforts or run to people instead of Him who is the answer to all things.

  5. Becky says:

    I used to live a life that was consumed by body image, causing me to go down a dangerous path if overexercising and undereating. Because of this, we had a difficult time having children. God was calling me to let go of my idols and let go of the control I thought I had. For awhile I ran from this calling, only causing more damage to by mind, body, and soul. It was a bible study based on the story of Jonah that changed my life. Changing my lifestyle and trusting God was a scary thing for me. It was my Nineveh. But God used Jonah to show me that I was running, and if I would just be obedient as Jonah finally was, he would protect me and bless me. I had known Jesus for a long time but after full surrendering to his will, my life was changed because of his mercy and love. I now have 3 beautiful children. My first is named Jonah, and he remind me every day of God’s grace.

    1. Becca Bailey says:

      What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing.

    2. Kaitlin says:

      That is beautiful, Becky. Your Jonah is a true reminder of God’s love, mercy, and grace. Amen!

  6. Imi says:

    Why are we still so afraid. Have we no faith?
    What a challenge to trust in the God who controls all things and yet has our very good planned.

  7. Stephanie says:

    Yes Rebecca! All of us are like Jonah, afraid to face whatever God is putting in our path. Help us Lord to follow Jesus’s courage in living the life you created for us, regardless of its difficulty.

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