There will be blood

English: Jonah Is Spewed Forth by the Whale (J...
English: Jonah Is Spewed Forth by the Whale (Jon. 2:1-11) Русский: Пророк Иона, изверженный китом (Ион. 2:1-11) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Sign of Jonah is the sacrifice of Jonah

Our tale begins with the descent of the prophet Jonah in chapter 1 of the book bearing his name. In verse 3 he “goes down to Joppa;” In verse 5 he goes “down into the ship,” then “lies down” to sleep. This descent places Jonah in the midst of the very people who will sacrifice him for their own salvation in verse 15. This set up alludes to Christ going down from heaven, down to Jerusalem to be crucified and being laid down in the tomb in the sleep of death.  Jonah flees from God and God uses him as a type of Christ.

Jonah is a substitutionary sacrifice for the sailors like Jesus is a substitutionary sacrifice for the new humanity. Jonah’s story is typological. It is not exactly the same in content or effect. Jonah’s sacrifice saved the lives of the sailors not their souls. But Jonah is a picture of Jesus. Jonah descends from a place of honor to a place of shame amidst those He will be sacrificed for. Jesus descends from a place of honor to a place of shame amidst those He will be sacrificed for. Jonah lies down and sleeps in a boat, Jesus lies down and sleeps in a boat. Jonah is awoken amidst a storm. Jesus is awoken amidst a storm. Jonah is sacrificed at the hands of the ones his sacrifice saves; Jesus is sacrificed at the hands of the ones his sacrifice saves. Continue reading “There will be blood”

Is Jonah great?

The Sign of Jonah; Introduction

Matthew 12:41The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

Jesus says he is greater that Jonah. Why? Isn’t it self-evident that He is? Why not just say I am great and Jonah is Jonah. We understand Jesus is the greater Moses, Joshua, and David. But who would call Jesus the greater Jonah? Jesus did. We need to get the big picture. Who wrote the book of Jonah? Jonah did. Jonah learned an important lesson and wants you to learn it too. Jonah’s sins were startlingly revealed to him and he took the lesson to heart and wrote a book about it.

Jonah is a humbled prophet. Jonah is great because he wrote a book in which God is the hero. Besides pointing the reader toward God’s glory, Jonah is one of the most succinct, dynamic and multi-dimensional “types” of Jesus in the Old Testament.

What is the sign of Jonah? A quick read will point us to the fish and the three days of Death, but it’s more complicated than that. To properly interpret the book of Jonah we need to understand that “the sign of Jonah” is the Sacrifice, the fish, the word and the judgment of Jonah as they foreshadow Jesus’ ministry.

Practicing Affirmation

Our Lord Jesus Christ
Our Lord Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Zechariah 8:16 “These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace.”

In your heart of hearts, what do you long to hear God say, once you’ve arrived at the end of your race? Jesus taught that at the final judgment God’s children will receive affirmation that their faith was not in vain when the Father pronounces, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” This is good news. We’ll know that we have run our race well. But it is a long road to the end. We have to wait and live out our faith with fear and trembling.

Presently, we have God’s Spirit, which affirms in our hearts and minds the truth of who we are in Christ, but this is not all. We are commanded to speak the truth in Love and we often think this only means telling people the ugly truth. But God commands us to build one another up with our judgments.

Ephesians 4:15 “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.”

Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Zechariah 7:9“Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another,”

God is a God of judgment. God pronounces judgment on everything that pleases him and displeases Him. Judgment is not merely a negative action. In our modern Christian culture, judgment as become a purely adverse term. But acquittal is a judgment, not guilty is a judgment, innocent is a judgment and righteous is a judgment. Judgment can be positive. God’s judgment is either condemnation of behavior that is contrary to Him or affirmation that people are glorifying Him and should continue in the direction they are going. Continue reading “Practicing Affirmation”

The Wise man’s heart

To teach us God trains us with Grace as it says in Titus 2:11-12. How does God do this?

Ecclesiastes 7:2-4 “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.”

The house of mirth is a house of amusement. Think theme park or a Budweiser commercial. Now there is nothing wicked about a theme park, but if you lived there, how would ever face the more difficult and trying aspects of life?Mere amusement does not cause us to reflect on our condition as fallen men. Sorrow causes us to closely examine our lives. If your heart dwells in the house of mourning you remember who you were in Adam and who you are in Christ. Continue reading “The Wise man’s heart”

A Man of Sorrows and Acquainted with Grief

Introduction

Every child from Adam to the baby born in the middle of this sentence, has taken out a huge knife of iniquity and stabbed God in the heart with it. God has suffered at the hands of everyone who has ever sinned, which is every man and woman who has ever lived.

This all started at the dawn of time, in the paradise of the Garden, where God’s chief Creation and representative on earth bowed down and worshiped Satan before the very face of God. And just as Adam’s teeth tore into the forbidden fruit, our sins tear at the heart of God.

Our treachery separates us from the LORD. Adam’s rebellion unleashed a conflict directed at God’s throne which man has perpetuated throughout history down to the present day. Continue reading “A Man of Sorrows and Acquainted with Grief”

The Suffering Servant

A sermon delivered on February 10th, 2013.

Do you suffer? Have you experienced a broken heart or a broken arm? Have you been betrayed or falsely accused? Are you alone and misunderstood? Why in an otherwise decent world, full of beauty and good things, do events occur that have no apparent upside? Why does a good God allow suffering?

We have to turn back to the beginning to find out. Have you ever wondered what Jesus was thinking at the moment that Adam ate the fruit, God the Father, commanded Adam not to eat? Adam bit into the fruit and by his action Adam called Jesus’ Father, our father, a liar. The father whom Jesus loved. Who Jesus adored, served, obeyed and revered. Adam bit into that fruit and called God’s Holiness, evil. In that act, in the midst of a paradise, as the king of earth, Adam bowed down and worshiped Satan before the face of God. Adam chewed the fruit and each bite was a tear and gnarling wrench of God’s heart. And at that moment, Jesus entered His suffering at the site of God’s chief creation, God’s image bearer, prostituting himself for the promises of an idol.

At the dawn of time, still rejoicing over the creation made in and through him, Jesus not only witnessed the treachery of man but Jesus was, in that moment, sentenced to death. And that suffering of the Father and the Son and the Spirit would continue as generation after generation proved themselves to be just as treacherous and evil as Adam.

That suffering continued until Jesus laid down His life only to take it up again as the resurrected LORD. And that suffering continues as Christ’s blood spreads from the rivers to the ends of the earth, cleansing everything Adam stained. And what is even more profound about this moment is that it was decreed by God. It was not a shock to Him. “Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward,” it says in Job 5:7. Man’s fall plunged God’s world into suffering.

We are fallen creatures and the evil that we experience is the result of what we’ve done to God. No matter what we suffer or experience. Evil that befalls evil creatures is not evil. It’s par for the course. The only one who experiences true evil and who truly suffers is God himself. Continue reading “The Suffering Servant”