This week we come to the final chapter of Jonah: the climax of the story. Jonah finally gets honest--and angry--with God. It is in this short exchange that we see clearly the true character of the God of the Bible, and of ourselves.
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Our mission is to invite people into a life-changing relationship with Christ and his church. Finding salvation in Christ isn't only about intellectual belief, but about tangible action--what God's word calls repentance--or turning to him. This Sunday, we'll see an incredible picture of surprising repentance, and from not only the wicked Ninevites, but from the wayward prophet Jonah and even from...God himself.
Are you ready? Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble" (John 16:33). Either as a consequence of our own sin or simply the fallen world around us, we will all experience times "in the depths." So what will you do when these times of "distress" come? From "the pit"--for the first time in this book--Jonah prays. This Sunday we'll learn from Jonah about why prayer, even an imperfect one, is so powerful especially in times of trouble.
How did you become a Christian? Some of us were raised in the church for many years, while others came to Jesus at a later age with little previous understanding of Christianity. Our passage this week makes clear that both religious and irreligious people need God's grace. The Lord in his mercy will not leave Jonah to run from him, even as the religious prophet persists in his proud, hypocritical rebellion. And yet we're also surprised by the irony of God's grace at work in the pagan sailors whom Jonah encounters. This Sunday we'll see in depth the consequences of sin but also how neither hypocrites nor pagans are outside of the reach of God's amazing grace.
Jonah is not about the fish. There is a fish in the story, of course, but this little book is really about God--and us. This is one of the most riveting, shocking, and penetrating narratives in all of Scripture. It shows us the depth of our brokenness, and the even greater depths of God's grace. We dive in head first this Sunday, as Jonah's flight away from God raises the question for us: What happens when God's command contradicts our own deepest desires?