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Jonah, the Book of Divine Revelations
We want, as we enter into the Book of Jonah, to speak of its historicity. There are many today who relegate this most marvelous message from the Divine pen to the scrap pile of ancient lore.
They have relegated Jonah to the scrap pile long ago,
Just because the God they worship, can't work miracles you know.
We take the Book of Jonah exactly as we take every other Book of the Minor Prophets, as one hundred per cent inspired by the finger of God. Observe the following reasons:
1. The Book of Jonah is the Word of God because of the marvelous message of Christ which it positively sets forth. This statement is true because Christ said: "As Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Here is no small matter.
If Jonah is a fable, then Christ built a literal resurrection on a fabulous and fanciful story; then Christ built a surety on an insecurity; then He built the most tremendous truth of all Christianity, upon a plain and unadulterable falsehood; then He built the most marvelous house that God ever built, upon shifting sand.
2. The Book of Jonah is the Word of God because of the marvelous message of Israel it proclaims. No one who knows the Book of Jonah can fail to see the far-flung revelation and prophecy concerning the whole House of Israel.
(1) As Jonah was sent to Nineveh, so Israel was sent to the world.
(2) As Jonah was truant to his call and ran away, taking ship to Tarshish, so Israel ran away, unfaithful to her calling and took ship to every nation on earth.
(3) As Jonah was followed by a great storm, so God followed His chosen people with judgments both severe, and age-lasting.
(4) As Jonah was swallowed by a prepared fish, so the ten and the two tribes of Israel have been swallowed by the nations.
(5) As Jonah was swallowed and undigested, even so have the nations whither Israel has been driven, been unable to swallow her. The miracle of miracles, a miracle which has stared us in the face during twenty-one hundred years is this Israel still lives, and lives under circumstances absolutely impossible from every human reckoning, and lives as Israel.
How great is the faithfulness of God! He has kept Israel, even as He kept Jonah.
(6) As Jonah was vomited upon the land, even so will the twelve tribes be sent back to their land. Exiled for twenty-three hundred years, and miraculously preserved, they are at this very moment turning their faces Zionward. Truly their return is but spelling out God's plan, and fulfilling His eternal purposes toward His chosen race.
(7) As Jonah was sent to Nineveh, so shall the Children of Israel be sent to the nations of the world. Jonah's affliction made him ready to give his testimony to a great city. Israel's affliction shall prepare her to carry the testimony of her God to the ends of the earth.
(8) As Nineveh was saved under the preaching of Jonah, so shall the earth be filled with the knowledge of the Lord under the preaching of God's chosen people. The Gentiles shall come to her light, and nations to the brightness of her rising.
I. THE COMMISSION OF JONAH (Jonah 1:1-2 )
1. Jonah was sent of God. Jonah 1:1 says: "Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah * * saying, Arise, go." Has not the same word come to us? God is saying unto every believer just what He said to the disciples, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Let none of us excuse ourselves as though we were not sent ones. We may not all be sent to the same place certainly not but we are all sent to some place. Among all the young people who read these lessons, there is not to be found one who has been excused from service.
2. Jonah was sent of God to a great and wicked city. God loves the lost. He loves the world, and it is to such that he is sent. God would not that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. It is the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son, to whom God sends us. We are told to search until we find it.
3. Jonah was given a special commission, even to cry against Nineveh. We are not sent to placate those who live in sin. We are sent under the promise, that when the Holy Ghost is come unto us He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. We are not to preach a soft, emasculated Gospel. We are to tell men that they are lost. We are to proclaim unto them the judgments of God.
4. Jonah was told of the wickedness of Nineveh. God said that their wickedness had come up before Him. Because Christ died upon the Cross to save sinners, and because the heart of God yearns after sinners, is sufficient proof that God wants sinners to be saved. It was the fact of sin that made the Atonement necessary. It was the fact that God saw sin that made it necessary to go and preach salvation from sin. At this moment the wickedness of men still stands in the limelight before the Almighty. Nothing is hid from His eye.
II. JONAH'S RUNNING AWAY FROM GOD (Jonah 1:3 )
1. Jonah rose up to flee. Here is a man and a Prophet who flatly disobeyed God. He was sent to a certain city, with a certain message, and he refused to go. As we see it, there are scores of believers who are doing as Jonah did. Let us look at it this way. God has said: "To every man his work." How many saints are at work? Idlers are disobedient sons.
God has said: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations." How many of the saints have gone? Not to go is to be disobedient.
God has said: "Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee." How many saints have done this? They too are evil.
The Church of Jesus Christ which is His Body, washed in His Blood, saved by His grace, has literally rebelled against the commission of her Lord.
Thousands, yea, multiplied thousands, are like the man who wrapped his talent or his pound in a napkin and hid it away. The "do nothing" members are nine-tenths of the members of the average local ecclesia.
2. Jonah rose up to flee from the presence of the Lord. Every one who is disobedient to the Divine commission to go preach, flees from the presence of the Lord. Can we bask under the sunshine of God's presence, when we refuse to obey His voice? If we seek to go to some Tarshish via some Joppa, shall we think that we may have God's approval? The truth is, that every believer who is not a personal Soulwinner, and who in no wise is en route to some home, some wayside, some city, some land, to preach Christ is under the ban of God.
God has said: "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace." Shall we say, then that the feet of those who refuse to publish peace are beautiful? Nay, they are altogether perverse. To refuse the call of God to any service is sin; for he who "knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."
III. THE GOOD AND THE BAD IN JONAH (Jonah 1:3 , l.c.)
Our Scripture says that Jonah "found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord."
1. Wherein Jonah was good. He was good because he paid the fare thereof. He was at least honest. He stowed himself away in the hold of the ship, but he was not a stow-away. Perhaps he boasted that he had paid his fare.
In all of this, however, there is another side. The fact that Jonah paid his fare to flee from the presence of God, suggests that every man who flees God's presence will have some price to pay.
2. Wherein Jonah was bad. He went with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. Perhaps there is a twofold thought here. He went from the presence of the Lord; then, he went with them, that is, with those who knew not the Lord. He who would keep company with sinners in their evil way will certainly lose the company and fellowship with God.
What a sad picture confronts us. A man going away from God and going in company with those who knew not God.
As Peter followed the Lord afar off, he was preparing his own heart for sitting with the enemies, at the fire.
Do you think for a moment that those who mix and mingle with the world, can fellowship with Christ? Can those who walk with sinners, walk with God?
IV. THE MIGHTY TEMPEST (Jonah 1:4 )
The two great "buts."
In Jonah 1:3 we read, " But Jonah rose up to flee."
In Jonah 1:4 we read, " But the Lord sent out a great wind."
1. The first "But" The flight. We wonder if Jonah thought that he could succeed in fleeing the presence of God. Do you think as much? Where can you go that He shall not find you? Does not He fill the Heaven and the earth? Truly God knows thy goings.
Run away from God? God is everywhere. Thinkest thou this O vain man, that God will not follow thee? Thinkest thou that God will cast thee off? Not if thou art His own. "For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth." Wherever you read or hear of "but Jonah rose up to flee * * from the presence of the Lord," you will also read or hear, "But the Lord sent out a great wind."
2. The second "But" The stormy sea. It was no small storm, but a mighty tempest. The sea was so wild that the ship was like to be broken. God was making sure of reaching His servant Jonah. The chastening of God is never a light matter.
Think of David who had grievously sinned. Did not the Lord cause his bones to wax old with their roaring all the day? For two years, misery was his companion.
Think of Achan, whose record is given in Joshua 7:1-26 . Did not the judgment of God sweep him from the earth? It is written by the Prophet Jeremiah: "Know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that My fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of Hosts."
Did Israel suffer for her backslidings? She not only did, but she still suffers. The storm still beats against her frail bark. There is but one way that a covenant child of God, or a covenant people, can escape His mighty tempest, and that is by the way of confession, and return unto the Lord.
V. THE AFFRIGHTED MARINERS (Jonah 1:5 )
1. No man liveth unto himself. Jonah sinned and rose up to flee from the presence of the Lord. The mariners who manned the ship on which Jonah fled were not to blame for Jonah's disobedience, and yet, they had to suffer along with Jonah. Lives are so linked and interlinked; interests are so woven and interwoven, that what any individual does, affects a wide circle of others.
Go into the home of a godless man. Be his wife ever so true, and ever so faithful to God, yet, she must suffer because of her husband's evil deeds. The children too must bear the sins of the father. The mother or the father, too, must suffer for the sins of their children.
There is no star that twinkles in the heavens, and twinkles to itself alone. There is no stream that carries death in its waters, that suffers its blighting curse alone.
When we think of the mariners driven with the winds, and nearly swamped by the waves, we think of the other boats as well as the one in which Jonah rode. We think not only of the mariners themselves but of the home people, all of whom would be affected, had the boats gone down in the storm.
The young man who recklessly drives an automobile, should think of the other occupants of his car. He should think of the other cars which he may strike, as he tops the hill, or rounds the curve.
2. Wherein the devotion of the heathen overlaps that of the saint. The mariners were crying every man unto his god, while Jonah was fast asleep in the sides of the ship. We have seen the heathen going forth at sunup to worship their gods, while Christians lazily slept on. Perhaps the mariners prayed because they were afraid. Nevertheless, they prayed.
We grant they were praying to gods who had no ears to hear, and no power to help; yet, they prayed. Jonah himself was the one standing in the need of prayer, and Jonah lay fast asleep. Let us be up, and at the place of prayer.
VI. A SAINT REBUKED BY A HEATHEN (Jonah 1:6 )
1. The shipmaster came to Jonah. To us, the shipmaster stands for the unchurched masses, the men who know not God. Even such as they, can oftentimes rebuke a saint. We believe that the dancing, drinking, frolicking, card-playing, contingency of the world has very little confidence in the profession of a church member who lives as they live, and talks as they talk.
2. The shipmaster called Jonah a sleeper. That there was rebuke in his voice, we cannot doubt. There is a time to sleep, but that time is not in the time of danger; nor is it in the time when we are running away from God.
3. There was a call to prayer. The shipmaster said to Jonah: "Arise, call upon thy God." Poor Jonah, even with the storm raging, he durst not pray for the storm to cease. The only way that the winds could be quieted, and the waves abated, was for Jonah either to confess his sin to God, or to be thrown from the ship.
4. A heathen custom and conception. First of all, the captain of the ship followed the customary conception of his people, that disaster came to a sinning one, as a punishment from the gods. Secondly, he had the idea that if they could discover the one who was under the ban, that they could then, by removing him, remove the storm. While his idea is not usually true, it was certainly true in this case. Jonah, aboard their ship, and running from God, caused them all their trouble.
VII. JONAH'S CONFESSION OF FAITH (Jonah 1:8-9 )
1. "The lot fell upon Jonah." Seeking to discover the one for whose sake the storm had fallen upon them, the mariners cast their lot, and Jonah was taken (Jonah 1:7 ).
2. The inquiry. As soon as Jonah stood forth as the culprit, those who gathered around him began to say, "Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?"
We wonder if we are traveling among men, and covering up our identity? our faith? and the fact that we are followers of the Living and True God? Many Christians seem to feel it utterly unnecessary, when they are in the midst of unbelievers, to give any testimony of their allegiance to Christ.
3. Jonah's final confession. When Jonah, however, was put to the test and he could no longer hide himself, he bluntly said: "I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of Heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land." After all Jonah was truthful. He acknowledged that he was a Hebrew. He acknowledged that he feared God. He even described his God as the Mighty Creator of sea and land.
All of this affrighted the men exceedingly. Thus they pressed further their questioning, and asked Jonah why he had fled from the presence of the Lord. Those were moments of intensity. Jonah felt that his flight from God was bringing disaster to all. He saw that he had, in truth, been unable to shield from God, or man, the fact that he was a runaway. He had been outwitted by the Almighty. It was at this point that Jonah's flight was broken up. God will allow us to go so far, but no farther.
Let those among us who are running away from God, stop and profoundly weigh the madness of their disobedience. Let them quickly repent and return that they may find mercy.
The second wireless operator of the Titanic said: "In the first place the Californian had called me with an 'ice report' about five o'clock. I was rather busy, and I did not take it. They did not call me again, but transmitted it to the Baltic, I took it down as it was transmitted to the Baltic about half an hour afterward. I was doing some writing at the time, sir, writing some accounts on the table. I continued to work on the accounts for about thirty minutes. Then I took the report she sent to the Baltic. It was an 'ice report,' so I knew it was the same she had for me. I acknowledged it direct to the Californian. It was that the Californian had passed three large icebergs, and gave their latitude and longitude.
"I wrote it on a slip of paper and handed it to the officer on the bridge."
"Did you make a record of it?"
"No, sir. If we made a record of all these messages we could not begin to make up our accounts."
Bride said he did not recall the name of the officer on the bridge to whom he gave the warning.
Christians are too busy with their daily toil to take warnings. Sometimes the warnings are in a sermon, in the Scripture, or they come while we are praying. We soon forget them.
Second Officer Lightoller of the Titanic told the Senate Investigating Committee that Capt. Smith and the other officers expected to encounter ice at 11 o'clock on the Sunday night of the disaster, or forty minutes before the ship struck; that Capt. Smith showed him a message of warning. He himself worked out the probable position cf the ice, and he in turn warned Chief Officer Murdock. He also cautioned the lookout men to keep a sharp watch ahead for ice. Publisher Unknown.
Jonah, and the Calvary Message
The message of Calvary is not the message of historical Scriptures alone. Beyond doubt, the final chapters of the Gospels, and the Epistles and the Revelation all speak of the death of Christ, but they never speak of it as of some exigency that came upon Christ Jesus unawares.
The four Gospels do, we grant, show a growing antagonism to the Lord on the part of the leaders of the Jews. This hatred grew rapidly as the Cross approached. The rulers went about to slay Him. However there is not a word of truth in any such a contention as this, which is often made by unbelievers: they say that Christ saw the increasing antagonism against Himself, and, in a moment of inner despair, cried, "The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and of scribes, and be killed."
Christ frequently spoke of His death in His earlier ministry, and long before the wrath of the Jews had been fanned to a white heat.
1. Christ in His baptism plainly and positively set forth His death. When John would have hindered Him, He said, " Thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness."
2. Christ when questioned by the disciples of John, foreshadowed His death. John's disciples asked, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but Thy disciples fast not?" Then Christ said, "Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast." In this Christ again foretold His death, when He should be taken away.
3. Upon the visit of Nicodemus. Christ, to Nicodemus plainly asserted His death, in the words, "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son." Not only was His death forecast in the words, "gave His * * Son"; but the substitutionary death was asserted in the words, "that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." The same is seen in the words "that the world through Him might be saved."
4. Christ, in John 3:14 , reached back into the old Scriptures, even back unto the days of Moses. He said: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." In this statement Christ not only told that He was to be lifted up in order that men should be saved from hell and have eternal life, but He also plainly set forth that His crucifixion had been foretold far back in the Old Testament days.
This Scripture not only asserts that the Old Testament foreshadowed the death of Christ, but it asserts that Christ foreknew His own death in the days of Moses.
5. The Lord Jesus in John 10:1-42 spoke very definitely about His death. He said: "I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep." He also said: "I lay down My life for the sheep." Again He said: "Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again." In all of this, Christ not only told His death, but He told that He willingly laid down His life, and that He laid it down in order that His sheep might have life.
6. The Cross in Jonah. We have said all of the above in order that we may not be surprised, as we study the Book of Jonah, to find the death and the resurrection of Christ foretold in that marvelous Book. It will be the purpose of this study to demonstrate this remarkable truth.
I. THE DOCTRINE OF SUBSTITUTION (Jonah 1:11 )
Here is the exact reading of our key verse: "What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us?" The very words are meaningful.
1. Where is he who does not wish to be shielded from the tempest? The tempest which bore down upon the ship, wrought with great fury. There is, however, another tempest of wrath. It is sent from God upon the sinner. Let no one think for a moment that he can escape the judgment of God, and its wrath. God could not be just if He did not punish the unjust.
The darkest picture of the judgment of God, of which we know, is that when the billows of God's wrath fell upon Jesus Christ as He hung upon the Cross. When Christ became the Substitute for our sins, how terrible was the wrath of God! As Jesus suffered upon the Cross, the pangs of hell got hold upon Him.
It was not merely the physical pain but it was the pangs which fell upon Him as God made His soul an offering for sin. It was not alone the physical suffering, nor was it alone the mental suffering, that fell upon Him as the wicked enclosed Him, and cried out against Him. It was His being made sin for us.
If you want to get the real agony of Calvary, you must hear the voice of our Lord Jesus as He cried, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" If you want to fathom the depth of His anguish, you must dig to the depth of the words, He suffered, the Just for the unjust. Thus we have seen somewhat of the fierceness of the storm of Divine wrath, as God made Christ's soul an offering for sin.
2. We may be shielded from the tempest of God's wrath only by the sacrifice of another, even the Son of God. The mariners said: "What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us?" We say: "Is there any way by which God can be just and the Justifier of the ungodly? Is there any method by which God can turn His wrath from us upon another?" Yes, when it falls on Christ, it can no longer fall on us.
II. THE DOCTRINE OF SUBSTITUTION CONCLUDED (Jonah 1:12 )
Jonah said unto them: "Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you." This was the Prophet's answer to the query, "What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us?"
1. The casting forth of Jonah was the only safety of the mariners. Wherein is our safety? How shall the wrath of God be swerved from us? There is but one answer. "With His stripes we are healed." When Christ steps in as a sacrifice for us, we are free. He died that we may live. He suffered that we might sing. He bore the punishment for our transgression. He was made a sacrifice for our sins. Yea, God cast upon Him the iniquity of us all.
We remember how Paul wrote to Philemon and said: "If he * * oweth thee ought, put that on mine account." We remember how Peter recorded these words: "Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God."
In all of this the words of Isaiah were fulfilled: "Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows." "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities." He bore the sin of many.
2. Our only safety is in the Christ whom we crucified. They themselves, the mariners, cast Jonah overboard. We, ourselves, crucified the Lord.
We know that Christ was delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, so also was Jonah cast overboard. We know, however, that men, with wicked hands, took the Lord and slew Him, So did our hands of sin nail Him to the Cross.
As Christ died upon the Cross. He cried: "Father, forgive them." Upon what basis could He utter such a cry? It was on the basis that He Himself was bearing the sins of the very men who hald given Him to death. What a wonderful Covert is ours! It is a Covert from the storm, and yet, while we, all securely, take up our abode in the Rock of Ages, we must never forget that the storm beat upon the Rock which sheltered us, and that Rock is Christ.
III. SEEKING SAFETY BY THEIR OWN POWER (Jonah 1:13 )
1. The key verse tells a story of everyday enactment. The mariners had been told definitely that through sacrificing Jonah the sea would be calm to them. "Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring [their ship] to the land."
We cannot but see in all of this the vain efforts of the unsaved to escape the judgments of God by their own power. They think that they can appease judgment and wrath by the works of their own hands. There are many, many thousands who acclaim themselves their saviour. Such men and women are doomed to disappointment and despair. God hath said: "By the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight." He has said: "To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
2. The key verse plainly admits that the mariners could not bring the ship to land inasmuch as the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. How foolish is the effort of man to save himself. How can he who is accustomed to do evil, do good? How can a bitter fountain bring forth sweet water, or an evil tree bring forth good fruit?
Let us remember that what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God could do by sending His own Son to die for us.
They who are building their hope of Heaven upon the works of their own hands will sometime wake up to the fact that they cannot save themselves.
"Could our tears forever flow,
Could our zeal no respite know:
All for sin could not atone,
Christ must save, and Christ alone."
"There is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Pulling at the oars and trying to reach the land apart from a "sacrifice" cannot be done. The sooner we learn that all have sinned, and that all are helpless in their sins, the better it will be for us.
"By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast."
IV. A BESEECHING PRAYER (Jonah 1:14 )
When the mariners discovered that they could not save themselves and that Jonah must be sacrificed, they cried unto the Lord (Jonah 1:14 ).
1. We can almost hear the words of Caiaphas as he said: " It is expedient for us, that one Man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not." This was the motive that led the mariners to cry, "Let us not perish for this man's life." In other words, they said, "Let this man die that we may live."
This is also the faith of every believer He died that we might live. Christ, Himself, said that He was the Good Shepherd, and He died that the sheep might live.
2. We can almost hear the words of Pilate. Here is the scene as it was enacted when Christ stood before Pilate. Pilate had sought diligently to deliver Him. He had, so to speak, pulled at the oars to bring the ship to land. As the mariners in Jonah's day could not land their ship because the sea wrought and was tempestuous, so Pilate could not save the Lord because the people were set against Him. When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but rather that a tumult was made, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, like Jonah's mariners, "I am innocent of the blood of this just Person: see ye to it."
3. Finally we hear the words of the mariners as they concluded. "For Thou, O Lord, hast done as it pleased Thee." Yes, God had done as it pleased Him in the casting of Jonah overboard, and He had done as it pleased Him in giving Christ to die. We must remember the words spoken at Pentecost, "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and with wicked hands have crucified and slain."
V. JONAH CAST INTO THE SEA (Jonah 1:15 )
How graphic are the words of our verse, "So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea." Then what? "And the sea ceased from her raging."
1. Our Lord's memorable words: "As Jonas * * so shall the Son of Man"; now begin their direct fulfillment. What we have already seen was the prelude to this final act. The prelude, as we have discovered, held very striking analogies to Calvary events. Now we come to the events which take the dignity of types, inasmuch as Christ said of them, "As Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
2. Jonah cast out of the ship and into the sea seems to be saying to us, "Even so Christ was cut off from earth." Despised and rejected of men. When Isaiah wrote the words, "He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of My people was He stricken"; it was then that he cried, "And who shall declare His generation?"
Even so when Jonah was cut off, he saw in his rejection, the hope not only of the mariners, in the about-to-be wrecked ship, but also saw the hope of Nineveh itself.
3. "And the sea ceased from her raging." What is the hope of the wicked who are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest? What is the hope of the sea, itself, yea, of all the physical creation of God? Everything under the curse, finds its hope of calm in the Cross of Christ.
When Christ spoke words to the troubled waters of Galilee and said: "Peace, be still," He spoke as the Son of Man, the Seed of the woman, who was destined to be made a curse for us.
When Christ speaks peace to the troubled heart, rent and torn by sin, He speaks by virtue of the fact that He Himself suffered for us.
The whole creation is groaning and travailing in pain together until now, waiting for deliverance. We would that all men were waiting for the day of their complete deliverance.
When Jesus Christ approached the Cross, three different times, once in John 11:1-57 , once in John 12:1-50 , and once in John 13:1-38 , He was troubled. His troubles were climaxed after He had reached the Cross itself, and when He cried: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me." It was by virtue of the fact that He was troubled, bearing our troubles, that He could say in John 14:1-31 , "Let not your heart be troubled."
VI. THE EFFECT OF THE QUIETED SEA UPON THE MARINERS (Jonah 1:16 )
"Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows." There is a verse which says: "Oh, that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men."
1. We have a call to the fear of the Lord. When we think of Calvary, its sorrows and sufferings, its cries and its conquests, its climax of peace, we too should fear the Lord. We should fear the Lord because we see His wrath poured out on One made sin for us. We should fear the Lord because we see the calm and peace which befall those who trust Him.
2. We have a call to Divine service. The mariners offered a sacrifice unto the Lord. In view of what God has done for us, we should offer our bodies as a living sacrifice wholly acceptable unto Him.
3. We have a call to consecration. When the mariners saw that through Jonah's being cast overboard, God had given them calm, they made vows. When we see that through the death of the Son of God upon the Cross we have peace, we should make our vows, our pledges unto Him who loved us. No man has ever yet been able to repay God for His wonderful Calvary work, and its far-reaching results; but we can on bended knee yield ourselves to God.
We thus judge that if one died for all, all were dead and that He died for them that they should live for Him.
Let every young person at this moment make their vows of service and of fidelity and devotion unto the Lord, who loved them and gave Himself for them.
VII. HOW GOD PRESERVED JONAH (Jonah 1:17 )
1. God had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. Evidently God had everything prearranged. He knew that Jonah would take ship to Tarshish. He knew the effect of the storm. He knew the circumstances that would cause Jonah to be cast overboard; therefore He prepared the fish, and had him on the spot ready to swallow up Jonah.
Even thus was everything concerning the Cross prearranged. Before the foundation of the world, Christ was given to die. Even the fact that He was to be crucified was foretold a thousand years before the Cross, when the Psalmist said: "They pierced My hands and My feet."
"Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world." Let us ever remember that the fish was prepared of God, and was, therefore, not as other fish. A young college student said to me, "How could Jonah be housed in the belly of a fish, with the gastric juices, etc.?" I said, "You failed to note that this was a 'prepared' fish, therefore you do not know what it had in its belly, save that God said that the weeds were wrapped around Jonah's neck."
2. The three days and the three nights. This is the remarkable feature of the whole Book of Jonah. The Lord Jesus Himself stressed the words (Matthew 12:40 ).
If Christ, therefore, was raised from the dead some time before daylight on Sunday morning, we must figure back three days and three nights to find when He was crucified.
3. The minuteness of prophecy. Let us marvel that God should thus enact, in the experience of a runaway Prophet, in that which befell him, the very things which should befall our Lord. Thus it was that the death, burial and resurrection of Christ were written in the Book of Jonah, several hundred years before Christ was made of the woman.
We bow the head and we worship the Lord our God, who so graphically forecast the death of His Son our Lord and Saviour.
"The vicarious atonement for sin accomplished by the Cross of Jesus Christ is everywhere taught in the Scriptures by symbol, by direct teaching, by event and by the expression of believers. The symbols of the Old Testament persistently tell of a Sin-bearer who carries the load of sin for men. Old Testament Poet and Prophet teach the covering up of sin, and in most exalted language tell of Him who was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, upon whom was the chastisement of our peace, and by whose stripes we are healed.
John the Baptist pointed to Christ as the "Lamb * * which taketh away the sin of the world." Our Lord declares He gave His life "a ransom for many," and He teaches unmistakably that His death was not a defeat, but a voluntary sacrifice for the life of His people. "I lay down My life for the sheep." "Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father" (John 10:15-18 ). * * *
This great truth of Scripture has ever been an offense to sinful men, although for them it is the most precious truth ever given. "Christ crucified, unto the Jews" (the ritualists) "a stumblingblock," and "unto the Greeks" (the rationalises) "foolishness," "but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. The Presbyterian.
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Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Jonah 1". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19