For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here.
The Sign of Jonah
By Katie Pollard
One of the unique features of the book of Jonah is that it is filled with comparisons and contrasts. The writer uses repeated words and parallel scenes to highlight the contrast between hard-hearted, rebellious Jonah and the pagan sailors and Ninevites who turned to God. Throughout the story God’s own prophet seems, ironically, to be the furthest person from God’s heart.
A more striking contrast is between Jonah and God himself. Jonah is selfish and fickle, yet God remains faithful. Jonah has no compassion for the lost—in fact he despises the Ninevites and doesn’t want God to show mercy to any non-Hebrew people. This becomes evident when he is furious with God for sparing the people of Nineveh, never relenting in his anger. God, on the other hand, never relents in his mercy. He continues to show grace not only to the sailors and Ninevites, but also to miserable, foolish Jonah.
Though Jonah was a deeply flawed servant, God used him powerfully because HE is faithful. Now “something greater than Jonah is here.” Though we are imperfect, Christ’s perfect work covers us completely. We can take the good news to the ends of the earth with confidence, trusting that God can and will use our efforts for his glory.
How to pray today:
John and Julie Bowles, missionaries with Mission to the World, serving in Bangkok, Thailand. Pray for John as he adjusts to work with a graphic design firm. And, pray for the family’s integration into Jonah’s school. John and Julie are supported by LBC, and they are connected to a church plant in Bangkok. Pray for gospel fruit among the Thai people.
Thank God for the medical mission in Nicaragua. Pray for Brita Zuehlke as she leads this effort, along with other in our church who are involved. Pray for peace and stability in Nicaragua, so that the work there can resume.
Pray that God would give us his compassion for those right around us in need of his grace. These might be our Muslim neighbors, or friends with little spiritual interest, or others with different lifestyles or backgrounds.