Jonah is not a book about a big fish. Jonah is a book about evangelism and the sovereignty of God.
We all love a good fish story and maybe that is why Jonah is such a popular story, especially in Sunday School classes and Vacation Bible Schools. And just like most fish stories, it doesn’t even seem real and so it often becomes more legendary than life changing. We take a book in the Bible, that was written to cut us to the core of our souls, and we make it nothing more than some moralistic fairy tale like story about a giant fish. And not only does this undersell a truly classic piece of literature, but when we moralize this story, we miss a whole wealth of truth about ourselves and our amazing God.
As we approach a six week sermon series through the book of Jonah, i want to lay out a few statements and give a quick flyover of the series.
First statement: we’re going to treat the book of Jonah like it is, as a literal biographical account of historical happenings. Because the whole “big fish thing” is so hard for people to believe, there are some folks who might try to call this a made up story with some great lessons. But all the evidence, not limited to, but including the literal way that Jesus himself talks about Jonah and the fact that Jonah is mentioned in the book of 2 Kings, as a real life prophet, points explicitly towards this being a literal biographical account of historical events.
i am praying that we will see the gospel just wreck our lives and make them beautiful for the glory of God and fame of Christ.
Second Statement: This is how we’re going to tackle this Jonah series. We will interpret and understand the passage in it’s context and, quite frankly, we’re going to see ourselves a lot in this Jonah guy. Then, and by God design, we are going to make a beeline to Jesus Christ and the glorious truth of the gospel. And then we’ll see how this changes us to the core of who we are and calls us to and equips us for some excitingly difficult things. And i am praying that we will see the gospel just wreck our lives and make them beautiful for the glory of God and fame of Christ.
God is global in His mission to call out for Himself a people! A people made up of all the peoples, or people groups, of the world.
Now just a quick flyover of the series: Jonah is a complicated book and there are a lot of themes that run throughout the book. We will touch on a lot of these themes, but there are two major themes in Jonah that stand out above all the others and they tie together so wonderfully. One, God is sovereignly in control of all things, from weather and animals to the very souls of mankind. God reigns supreme over all things, nothing happens outside of His control. And Two, God’s heart beats for the Nations. God desires to and He will be worshipped by every tribe and tongue and nation! God is missional! And He is global in His mission to call out for Himself a people! A people made up of all the peoples, or people groups, of the world.
Jonah is not a book about a big fish. Jonah is a book about evangelism and the sovereignty of God. Over the next six weeks we will see time and time again that you cannot run away from, or resist, or derail, or defy, or foil the mercy of God. We will see very vividly the relentless mercy of God and my prayer is that we will respond with hearts of worship and lives of holiness and we will take the glorious good news of Jesus’ finished work on the cross and run with it to the furthest, darkest, and hardest places, for the glory of God, the fame of Christ and the joy of every tribe and tongue and nation.
That’s where we are headed. So lets get to it.