Sermonette: The Rest of the Sign of Jonah
The Preaching of Jonah
David C. Grabbe
Given 19-Mar-16; 18 minutes
There is much more to the sign of Jonah than the timing of three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, debunking the nonsense of a Friday afternoon 'good' Friday to Sunday morning "Easter" cycle. Jonah likely drowned, with the great fish serving as his coffin rather than his dwelling place for that time. When God then resurrected Jonah, the reluctant prophet preached a powerful message of repentance, leading the entire population of Nineveh to fast and repent, sparing them from destruction. Jonah had fled from his responsibility, opting for self-sacrifice rather than to be used by God for something he considered distasteful, facilitating the future demise of his people. All of us have similarly turned away from God's will for us; it should come as no surprise that God lovingly sends disruptions our way to get us back on His trajectory. Both Jonah and Jesus Christ were prophets of God, preaching repentance and seeing the positive fruits of their preaching. Both Jonah and Christ provoked their own people to jealousy by preaching a message which admitted Gentiles into God's plan of salvation. While Nineveh repented and was spared, Judah did not repent, and consequently witnessed their temple desecrated and destroyed, failing to see that when anyone repents and turns from his evil ways, God relents and forgives.