Jonah Runs to God


Jonah chapter 2 describes Jonah?s three days inside the great fish. This passage foreshadows the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. It may be tempting to discount Jonah 2 as a fable ? but what then do you say about the Resurrection?

Blake HolmesJul 12, 2009Jonah 2

Each week some people ask me, "What is it like when you prepare? What do you do to prepare? How long does it take you to prepare?" all those good things. Sometimes it takes a long time. Sometimes it doesn't take all that long. This week is one of those times it did not take all that long to prepare.

I just sat there in front of Jonah, chapter 2, and looked at that thing. It was like God was screaming at me. Because what I so desperately want to do is just get out of the way and communicate to you what the Lord is telling me to. I know all my brokenness and all my imperfection can get in the way of that.

I get so excited to get up here. When we're singing, I feel like I'm getting ready to run into a football game like it's the time of old. I just get so excited because I feel like this message is one of those messages, frankly, that might be one of the most important messages you hear all year, truly. I don't say that to boast in my skill or what I'm going to say but in the content of what I think God wants you to hear. Because when I sat there before the Lord and I go, "All right, God. What do you want me to share? What is it in Jonah 2 that is on your heart?"

I sat there, and I thought the Lord just said, "Hey Blake, you just tell them that if they're caught up with that great fish, chapter 2 of Jonah says, tell them to get more caught up with the God of that great fish and Jesus Christ. If they're wrapped up in the fact that Jonah was swallowed by that great fish, tell them it points to something even greater and that's my Son, Jesus Christ." I'm desperate for you to hear that message today. We're going to dig into chapter 2, but before we do that, I want to pray and ask him to bless our time.

Well, Lord, I know, Father, that your heart is desperate for folks to trust you, to love you Lord. Father, we come in this morning with long to-do lists, distractions from our day, our hurried morning already, pains and worries and doubts and fears. Father, I pray that you would strip us of all that. I pray, Father, that you would help us not lose the simplicity behind this message and how it points and exalts your Son Jesus Christ.

I pray, Father, through the mystery of the preaching of your gospel, Lord, and the work of your Spirit that you would do something great in each of our hearts and help us to really consider what it is you're asking us to do, and, Father, that we would not run to Tarshish as we talked about last week, Father, but we would turn and face Nineveh and walk in obedience and a receptivity to your calling. I ask this in your Son's name, amen.

Well, we're continuing our look at the book of Jonah. It is a book, gang, that when you talk about Jonah, the first thing people do is they kind of look at you like, "You really believe that? I mean, come on." They may have never even read Jonah, right? If I were to ask each of you, "How many of you have actually read all four chapters in the book of Jonah?" probably not a whole lot of us have read the whole book. We're just familiar with the story.

Some guy named Jonah swallowed by what many people just assumed to be a whale. Text never says that but we say, "Jonah was swallowed by a whale." That's about the extent that we know. As we discussed last week, because it seems so fantastic, so crazy that people have reduced this story to a parable or to an allegory and they've missed what Scripture has said about Jonah. Scripture presents Jonah to be historical.

Specifically, Jesus presents Jonah to be historical. It's not an allegory. It's not a parable. Because we've reduced it to an allegory or reduced it to a parable or because it seems so amazing to us, what we do is we may read it to our kids before they go to bed, but we don't stop and consider, "Lord, what are you trying to communicate to me?"

We lose the message of God's love for the whole world. That God loves you, God loves me, and God loves the whole world, every nation, every tribe, every tongue, the whole world. Even those you think are undeserving of his love. Even you who may think you're undeserving of his love. God loves the whole world. It is John 3:16 told in four chapters. God loved the world.

He wanted Jonah, his prophet, to go and share this message with others, specifically with the enemies of Israel, Assyria. Jonah didn't feel like they were worthy of his grace and his mercy and his love so he rebelled. Jonah is not that much different than we are in our reluctance to share the good news, the love of God with others.

I mean, just think about it. When was the last time, seriously, you looked at somebody else and said, "Do you know that God loves you? Do you know what the Bible has to say about how you can have a relationship with the one true God?" Gang, I think sometimes we remind ourselves of that, and even that seems to be routine to us.

"God loves us. I expect to hear that in church." and we take that for granted. We don't share with people who so desperately need to know and experience the love of God. We don't recognize our responsibility to share that love, but we're about our agenda. Like Jonah, we get on a boat and we don't go to Nineveh like we're supposed to, but we head to Tarshish because we're about our plans and our agenda.

The book of Jonah is going, "Gang, no, no, no. Life is found in obedience. Life is found in relationship with Jesus. Life is found in telling others about this one true God and serving him." Because when you don't do that, where does that leave you? It leaves you in a big sea, dark body of water, isolated and alone. That is where Jonah found himself after some time running from God thinking life is going to be found away from God, he recognizes, "Oh man. I have gone the wrong direction. I have gone the wrong direction."

As we discussed last week, this book is really simple to outline. You have four chapters. In chapter 1, you see Jonah running from God. In chapter 2, what we'll look at primarily today, you see Jonah running to God because he is in a world of hurt. In chapter 3, he runs with God. Then in chapter 4, that rebellious heart comes out again. You have Jonah running against God.

So let's look closely at chapter 2. Now the heart of chapter 2 is a prayer of thanksgiving. Jonah is going to offer a prayer of thanksgiving because counter to popular opinion, this great fish which swallows Jonah is not an instrument used for judgment. It's an instrument used for salvation. It rescues Jonah. We'll talk about that.

In chapter 2, Jonah is offering a prayer of thanksgiving thanking God that he has been rescued from the deep water, the ocean, that he didn't drown. Where we left off last week was in chapter 1, verse 17, which serves as a bookend, if you will. Because in 1:17, you see Jonah's rescue. Then you see this prayer he offers. Then the other bookend is in chapter 2, verse 10, which is Jonah's deliverance.

We'll spend most of our time looking at his prayer. Before we do that, let's look at verse 17 of chapter 1. Jonah's rescue. Remember, he has been thrown overboard by the sailors, those who did not know the Lord. He has been thrown overboard and he is in the ocean alone and isolated, thinking he is going to drown. Then we read in verse 17, "And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah…"

Now before I quickly carry on here, I don't want us to miss something that is essential to this book. That is the idea that God is sovereign. God is all-powerful. God is in control. He is sovereign over all of nature. What's great about this book is it just shows how small we really are. Right? In Jonah's futile attempt to flee from God, we see that God appoints a great fish.

Just as God spoke this earth into existence, this same God just speaks to this great fish, and he appears and he swallows Jonah. Then in chapter 4, we see three times… God appoints a plant, a worm, and a scorching east wind. The same word used four different times, just demonstrating time and again God is sovereign. God is in control. It's a key theme throughout this book.

The second thing we see here is that God is omnipresent. Remember Jonah is running as fast as he can trying to flee the presence of God, but it's futile, as we discussed last week. Whether or not he is on a boat, on dry land, or in the middle of the ocean, he cannot escape God's watchful eye. God is omnipresent. He is everywhere. You can't hide from him. It doesn't matter where you run or how far you think you can go or how deep you are in the ocean.

The psalmist even tells us in Psalm 139:7-12. It's a familiar psalm and just worth looking at again. It says, "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol…" If I go to where the dead lie.

"…behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me.

If I say, 'Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,' even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.""Lord, I can't escape you. You're everywhere. I can't outrun you."

Jonah discovers that. As he is all alone in this big body of water, drowning, he recognizes that God is right there with him and he is under his watchful eye. Verse 17 continues and says, "…and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights." Well that's the kicker, right?

That's where some of us, our eyes kind of roll back, we go, "Come on! Jonah is in the belly of the whale three days and three nights." That's where it starts to feel a little bit like a fairy tale. So the skeptic in this just kind of goes. Really? I mean, really. I mean, I know how to answer that when it comes to maybe Bible trivia, and I know about the story of Jonah, but do I really believe that he was swallowed by that fish?

Well, again I present to you, Jesus' belief. Because here's the deal, gang. This passage, this chapter points to an even greater miracle. It points to something even more fantastic. That is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That's something to really get your arms around, right? I mean, think for a moment. It's one thing to think that a man is swallowed by a fish and he is able to live.

It is altogether more fantastic to think that God, who spoke this earth into existence, became man, and was without sin, and died. Why? Because he loves you. He died, and three days later he rose again, and he lives today. Now that's a miracle. If you look at Matthew, chapter 12, just hold your place in Jonah here. If you look at Matthew, chapter 12, you have some people much like us who are having a hard time believing that Jesus is who he says he is.

"I mean, Jesus, you claim to be the Son of God, but we have been waiting a long time for you to arrive. I hear what you're saying, but how? Prove it. How am I supposed to believe that you really are the Son of God?" In chapter 12, verse 38, that's just what you see. Some of the scribes and Pharisees, the teachers of the day, the skeptics.

"Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, 'Teacher, we want to see a sign [miracle] from You.' But He answered and said to them, 'An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign [miracle] ; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.'"

What's Jesus saying? He is saying, "Do you want to know whether or not I'm truly the Son of God? I'll prove it to you. I'm going to die, and just as Jonah was swallowed up by that sea monster, that great fish, and then lived to tell about it, I'm going to die and then three days later I'm going to live. That will prove to you beyond a shadow of a doubt that what I'm saying is true. I truly am the Son of God."

Now what you have to understand, gang, is the resurrection is absolutely the linchpin of the Christian faith. It's what holds everything together. Our faith rises or falls on the resurrection. Look, you can say, "I don't believe Jonah was really swallowed by a whale." You can say, "It's a parable." You can say, "It's an allegory."

That's fine. I think you're wrong. I think you're squarely in opposition of what Jesus teaches about Jonah, but you can believe what you want about Jonah and that miracle, but let me make it really clear. The linchpin of the Christian faith is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul understands that. That's why he goes to great pains to make that clear in 1 Corinthians, chapter 15. Just look really quick at what he says. 1 Corinthians 15 starting in verse 3.

He says, "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures…" Then he goes on and says that he rose again. Then he jumps down to verse 12 and it says this. "Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?"

Paul is talking to people who are sitting there going, "Come on, man. You really believe in the resurrection?" It's kind of like some of us who have said, "Do you really believe Jonah was swallowed by a whale or a great fish? Whatever that was. A sea monster? Do you really believe that?" Paul is making the case here, "Let's look at the resurrection." Verse 13:

"But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.

For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied."

Just to summarize what Paul is saying there, he is saying, "Hey, look. Without the resurrection the apostles' teaching is of no value." It's of no value. The Christian faith? What we say we believe, what we sing of? It's a lie. We're guilty of blasphemy, which means we're guilty of speaking something of God that's not true.

There's no forgiveness of sin. There's no hope of life after death. Without the resurrection, gang, we of all people are most to be pitied. We are fools for believing what we say we believe. We're crazy. I know when you look at Jonah, chapter 2, that there are some of us we just sit there and go, "Man, it's hard to get our arms around that."

What you have to do in my mind is sit there and go, "No, no. Don't lose sight of the fact that this great fish points to something even greater. Jesus is who links the two to his resurrection. Paul is the one who then says, 'Don't miss the story of the resurrection.'" Because without that, gang, our faith is in vain. Jesus rose from the dead, and he lives.

There are three facts that even the nonbelievers, even the most skeptical of people and believers alike agree to. These three facts are these: the tomb was empty _,__ the disciples saw something, and they were willing to die for their testimony_, and the church began after Christ's death (in the book of Acts, chapter 2).

When the church began, the sacrificial system that they knew of that day ended. The Sabbath moved from Saturday to Sunday for those who follow Jesus. Those three facts that the tomb was empty, the disciples saw something, and the church began are something that skeptics and believers alike can all agree to. The question is…How do we explain those three facts?

You will read and you will see how people go to great lengths to explain them, to do anything they can to explain away the resurrection. Obviously, I don't have the time to unpack that fully. But gang, if you find yourself right now struggling with, "Did Jesus really rise from the dead?" man, there is nothing so many of us would rather do than sit down with you and then talk to you about why we believe what we believe and then help you understand that you don't have to punt your intellect in order to believe in who Jesus is and who he says he is.

Let's look at chapter 2, verses 1 through 9. Jonah's prayer. There are three themes right here. See if you can pick up on them. Let's read it together. Verse 1 says, "Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish, and he said, 'I called out of my distress to the Lord, and He answered me.

I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; you heard my voice. For You had cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the current engulfed me. All Your breakers and billows passed over me. So I said, "I have been expelled from Your sight. Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple." Water encompassed me to the point of death.

The great deep engulfed me, weeds were wrapped around my head. I descended to the roots of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever, but You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God. While I was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to You, into Your holy temple. Those who regard vain idols forsake their faithfulness, but I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay.'"

There are three themes here. The first is one of distress. The second is one of salvation. The third is one of surrender. Did you see those? Beginning in verse 2, do you see what he said? "I called out of my distress to the Lord…I cried for help from the depth of Sheol…" Meaning from the underground.

Verse 3: "For You had cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the current engulfed me. All Your breakers and billows passed over me." Verse 5: "Water encompassed me to the point of death. The great deep engulfed me, weeds were wrapped around my head. I descended to the roots of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever…"

What's he saying there? "I was buried alive. I was left for dead, thrown into this great sea, thrown into this vast ocean. I was drowning, falling to the depth of this deep, dark sea." It's a picture of distress. I think one of the messages we walk away with today that we apply to our lives is the reality that all of us are in need of rescue. Every single one of us were in need of rescue.

Some of us who have yet to trust and believe in Jesus Christ need to recognize you're desperately in need of a Savior to rescue you from that sea of sin which you're drowning in, that what you have done, what I have done, what we are all guilty of as Romans 3:23 says, we have all sinned against God. We have all offended God. We have all rebelled against God. Every one of us has.

We've all run away. We look at a perfect, righteous, holy God and we're running the other way. It's about our agenda, our lives, what we want. We have rebelled. The reality is that there are some of us also who we believe and we've trusted Jesus Christ. We'll be the first to say, "Hey, I believe in the resurrection!" We technically have been saved.

We've placed our faith in Christ, but we're not living like that. We need to be saved from that sea of indifference and pride and routine. We need to remember the love that God has for us, that we are in need of rescue, that God's ways are the best ways, and that life on a boat fleeing from God doesn't lead to life; it leads to further isolation and pain.

Unfortunately, pain is what it takes for so many of us to wake up to the reality that we're not as self-sufficient as we think we are. I mean, if you think about it, the city of Dallas, if it is characterized by anything, it is self-sufficiency and independence, is it not? It just is. You may not think you're rich, but in the world's eyes, you're rich. Gang, for the most part, we're healthy and we have food on the table. We're not wondering where our next meal is going to come from.

For the great majority of us, we have a good job, a good education. We're be-bopping along. We don't even see our need for a Savior. We don't even see our need for rescue. I had a good friend of mine say one time to me he goes, "Blake, I'll just be real honest with you. I'm happy. Why do I need Jesus?" I go, "Man, great question. Great question."

So many of us live like that. Do you know what happens? It takes the pain of isolation, the pain of that dark ocean that Jonah was thrown into sometimes that God uses to capture our attention again and to show us that we're not as self-sufficient as we may think we are. I love this quote from C.S. Lewis, as I've said so often.

It just says this, "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world. No doubt Pain as God's megaphone is a terrible instrument; it may lead to final and unrepented rebellion. But it gives the only opportunity the bad man can have for amendment. It removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul." Pain is God's megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

The second theme we saw there is one of salvation. In verse 2, do you remember we talked about it said, "I called out of my distress to the Lord…" but then he says, "…and He answered me. I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; you heard my voice." "…You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God." Verse 9: "Salvation is from the Lord."

Jonah recognizes that. That's thematic in this prayer. "Salvation is from the Lord." Salvation is from the Lord. In other words, there's only one person capable of rescuing us. That's Jesus Christ. There's only one person capable of rescuing us. Now in today's age, that's not politically correct, is it? It's not politically correct to talk about sin and rebelling against God and judgment and that apart from Christ, there is no life and you face eternal judgment. That's not going to put you on talk shows. You're going to get picketed, right? It's not a popular message.

Imagine what Jonah must've felt like when he was thrown up by this great sea monster. Wouldn't you have loved to have a picture of that? I just think about his story, as we'll see next week as he goes into Nineveh. I just sit there and I think, did he start with, "Hey guys, crazy trip out on the sea. I can't wait to tell you how I got here. I was out there drowning, and then all of a sudden this big fish took me. I'm alive now, and I have to tell you about this God who saved me." The people sit there and go, "You know, I always thought you were strange." Seriously!

Jonah's story must've seemed ridiculous. Just prepare yourself when you tell other people, "I believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe God became man. He died and rose again three days later. He lives. You can have a relationship with this one true God, not based on what you do, not based on what you give or how many times you go to church or if your good outweighs your bad. No, no. It is based on what Christ has done for you. It's called grace. It's called a free gift. It's not earned. It's not deserved."

People just look at you and go, "Man, that seems too unbelievable. You sound like you're a guy who has been thrown up by a fish." Paul recognized how crazy it was to speak of the cross, didn't he? In 1 Corinthians, chapter 1. I love this passage. In 1 Corinthians 1, you don't need to turn there. I'll read it. It says there in verse 18, "For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

Do you see what he is saying right there? To those who don't believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the message of hope and eternal life, it seems like foolishness. To those who do believe, to those of us who are standing up and singing, "Mighty to save?" It's the power of God. He says, "For it is written, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.' Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?"

What's Paul saying right there? "Bring your skeptics, bring all those filled with doubt and let me show you and tell you something. "For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God…" In other words, when we're sitting there with our rational mind and we're just thinking, "Well, this doesn't seem to make sense to me." Exactly! It's not something you can just figure out.

Because "…God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs [miracles] and Greeks search for wisdom…" They want to rationally explain it. "…but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness…" This message which I'm preaching today? Man, if I were on CNN, they would go, "You are a fool!" Right?

"…but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." Gang, we are all in need of rescue. There's only one who can rescue us. That is Jesus. God chose to use a great fish to save Jonah. Otherwise, he would've died. He chose to use Jesus, his Son, to rescue us so that we wouldn't experience death and eternal separation from him.

The next theme you see in this prayer is one of surrender. Verse 4, back in Jonah, chapter 2. "So I said, 'I have been expelled from Your sight. Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.'" In the Old Testament times, the temple was where God's presence was said to dwell. What he is saying there is, "I've run. Through all of chapter 1 I've been trying to run away from you; nevertheless, now, God I surrender. I'm looking back to you. I'm looking to your temple."

Verse 7: "While I was fainting away [while I was dying] , I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to You, into Your holy temple [the place where you live] . Those who regard vain idols forsake their faithfulness, but I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay."It's one of surrender.

When we ended chapter 1, do you remember the pagans were the ones who made vows and prayed to God. We have yet to see Jonah pray. Here in chapter 2, he has come to the end of himself. He is tired of running. God has saved him. He is going, "All right, all right. You have me. You have me. I surrender. I give in."

I think it's interesting to note here when he speaks of vain idols. Vain idols. There's not life there, is what he is saying. Idolatry. Don't let that word throw you off. Idolatry just simply means placing something ahead of God. Money could be an idol to you. Entertainment could be an idol to you. All of us in one way or another, we're guilty of idolatry whenever we place something to make it more important than our relationship with the Lord.

When we put something in the place of where only God is supposed to reside. What Jonah is saying there is there is not life found in idolatry, pursuing all these things the world offers. Life is not found there. It only leads to death. "I've run from God. I've tried to find life apart from God. I'm in the ocean, and I am drowning. Life is not found there in what this world offers."

I think Todd said it well last week when he introduced this series. He said, "Jonah was written to preserve a message for you that is so applicable for today." Because when you look at guys like Michael Jackson? A guy who had all the world would offer: fame, money, glory. Anything you want, he had it. He had it all, and he did not find life in what this world offers.

One guy who writes for the Atlantic Monthly wrote this, and it says it so well. It is so sad. He said Michael Jackson, "…was everything our culture worships and yet he was obviously desperately unhappy, tortured, afraid, and alone." Whew. That's not what you'd expect to read about a guy who the world says has it all.

Jonah is telling you that. Michael Jackson's life is telling you that. I will tell you, just like Jonah found at the bottom of that ocean, it is never too late to ask Jesus to come and rescue you. It's never too late. As long as you draw breath? It's another day, another opportunity, another reminder of his grace, another chance to be made right with God. It's never too late to look to Jesus to save you, to rescue you from a life apart from God and a life of indifference with God.

It's never too late. No matter where you've been, what you've done, or how far you think you are removed from God. God loves you. God loves you. Let's look at verse 10 and wrap it up. "Then the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land." What we're going to see next week, gang, is God rescued Jonah so that he would be an instrument of salvation for the Assyrians, Israel's enemies.

God resurrected Jesus so that he would be an instrument of salvation for the world, for you and me. Jonah 2 points to Jesus. It points to the resurrection. It points to where life is found. Real quickly, the power of the resurrection… And the Scripture says so much about the resurrection. Just so you understand. It's more than just a doctrine we believe in our head, but it's the foundation, it's the power for all that we believe. It's where life is found.

Look what the Bible says about the resurrection. The resurrection substantiated Jesus' claim to be God. It validated his authority to forgive sin. It established Jesus as ruler over all things and head over the church. Look at these last two points. The resurrection is what gives us confidence in his promise that we too will be raised bodily from the dead. The resurrection is what enables us to receive power over sin and our daily lives.

It's more than just an idea. It's more than just a right doctrine, right thinking. The resurrection is what brings hope. The resurrection is what brings life change. The resurrection is what pulls you out of the pit of the sin that has you entangled that you've been abused by for years and can't get out of, can't come out from underneath. It is the power of the resurrection which saves.

As so many of you know my story of what my son is facing right now, it's what gives you hope. Without the resurrection, I walk in that clinic every Monday and I have no hope. I go into that place and it reminds me I am living in a dark, deep ocean. I see the frailties that we have as I see kids with cancer.

I just sit there and I just go, "All right, Lord." Man! Resurrection. It's more than an idea. It's what offers hope that someday for those of us who know Jesus… Cancer or not, man, cancer is not king over Jesus. Jesus is King over cancer. He is King over death. Whatever you're facing? He can overcome it.

It may not be on this side of the grave, but let me tell you. When I'm sitting there in that clinic for all those people who actually aware of their frailties, aware of their need for rescue, I just want to scream, "Resurrection!" I want to point to Jesus. I want to point to Jonah. I want to go, "Gang, there's life found at the foot of the cross. There's life found. There's hope. Believe it or not, as terrible as that circumstance is and as much as I hate this dreaded disease, I'm telling you there's reason to move on. There's hope. It's found in Christ."

If the resurrection is not true, then let's punt, let's close this thing down because we of all people are most to be pitied. God saves us, gang, from a sea of sin and rebellion against him. He calls us to a life of purpose. He gives us the opportunity to not follow in the footsteps of Jonah but to follow in the footsteps of his Son and his disciples and to tell others of this God who lives, God over the sea, God omnipresent, God over the fish, over Jonah. To the one true God, Jesus Christ. We're going to pick that up in chapter 3. Let's pray.

Lord in heaven, I thank you for the fact that there is life found in Christ. I thank you, Lord, that the resurrection is more than just a doctrine we're to believe intellectually. I thank you, Father, that there is life found in Jesus Christ, that there is hope despite cancer, there is hope despite disease, there is hope despite paralysis, and there is hope despite divorce, loneliness, sin, pride, isolation, and confusion.

That, Father, at the resurrection, Lord, we have all that we need to find the abundant life through your Son, Christ. I just pray, Father, you would save us from that sea of indifference, save us from that sea of rebellion, of routine, Lord, and that you would help us come face to face, Lord, with the risen Savior and humbly admit that we're in need of rescue, that Jesus is the only means of that rescue, and that we'd surrender ourselves to you, amen.

About 'Jonah'

What breaks God's heart? Do you know? Do you care? In this series, we meet Jonah, an 8<sup>th</sup> century B.C. prophet, who was charged by God to care for one of His great concerns: the city of Nineveh. A barbaric people far from God and immersed in pagan tradition, the Ninevites faced certain judgment and destruction. But when God commands Jonah to go to Nineveh to warn them and plead for their repentance, the battle begins. Jonah's journey of running, rebellion, repentance, resentment and return to God is much more than a children's story about a man and a huge fish. It's a powerful lesson on disobedience, God's great mercy for all people and our willingness to love others as God loves them. How willing are you to follow God and love others at all cost? This series on Jonah is a great opportunity for you to explore, study and find out.