December 15th – Jonah 3:1-5

 

Mercy Concept Watercolor Word Art

The Sign of Jonah

(Go ahead and read the whole book today. It’s short, and it’s SO GOOD!)

Holy moly! This one has broken my heart…This one is personal.

Jonah? What in the world does the story of Jonah have to do with Advent?

Well, that was my exact question several weeks ago when I began preparing for this study.

In the Gospel of Matthew, we read about an encounter between Jesus and the Pharisees who were looking for a miraculous sign Him as proof of His deity. But Jesus responded, “ A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Matthew 12:39

The sign of the prophet Jonah is a sign of judgment for a “wicked and adulterous generation.” Jesus was condemning the Pharisees, like Jonah complained of the Ninevites, as “those who cling to worthless idols” and “forsake faithful love.” Jonah 2:8

Let’s be honest… we are still a wicked and adulterous generation. I can’t point my finger to my neighbor because my heart is prone to wickedness and wandering as well.

I have the heart of Jonah and the Pharisees.
I am disobedient and judgmental.
I cling to worthless idols…
I put my trust in earthly things… chocolate, books, Hallmark movies… Need I go on.

My idols seem to crop up everywhere.

Do you find you are inclined to run to your comforts instead of running to Christ? What are the comforts you run to when you are stressed or weary?

Jonah was a runner too… hiding from the scary Ninevites…

AND they WERE a SCARY people! They used to cut off thumbs and gouge out eyes of their enemy. They were brutal and hardly seemed deserving of God’s grace, mercy, and salvation.

BUT God called Jonah to “GO!” To run toward possible death or mutilation. Toward those who did not deserve God’s love, His mercy, or His grace…

I NEED MERCY.

We need that same mercy God extended toward Jonah, the Ninevites, and the Pharisees.

We needed someone to run in into the storm for us.

We needed someone who would run toward to death.

Even though we did not deserve His love, Christ was the true and better Jonah because He ran into the heart of darkness so we, a wicked and an adulterous people, would not have to.
We are so quick to forget the mercy we have been shown, and we are quick to take for granted the grace that kept us from drowning.
The sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:39) points us toward Advent and Christ. YES!
Another Jonah has come, and He took on death willingly. He put Himself in our place, bearing our curse. Unlike Jonah, he was slow to anger, overwhelmingly compassionate, and completely obedient.
His sacrifice calmed the storm of God’s judgment. He has raised us up from the pit of death and hell.

Even in our unfaithfulness, He offers His faithful love.

Advent…

Oh God…

Forgive me.

I run to the wrong things…idols… for comfort when you are my comfort and my shield. My heart is often hard toward others I deem unworthy of your love, your mercy, your grace, and your salvation.

Forgive me.

Break my heart and tender it toward those who need salvation. May I be merciful and show others the unfailing love you have shown me.

Help me to be obedient to your call.

To where or what are you calling me?

Send me… I want to follow.

Amen.

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