6 Ways Jonah Reveals The Gospel
Are you ever slightly confused by the Bible?
When we read Old Testament stories, there are many life lessons to learn and wisdom to glean from, but we should be learning more about Jesus as the ultimate hero in these biblical books. The whole Bible gives context for the story of Jesus. Jesus is the hero of every story. The book of Jonah is no different.
Here are six ways Jonah reveals the Gospel.
1. Like Jonah, our sin separates us from God’s presence.
Jonah had a relationship with God. God spoke to him and told him to preach to the evil people of Nineveh. But Jonah disobeyed God. That’s what sin is. Sin is disobeying the word of God. There is sin of commission and sin of omission. Jonah’s sin was one of omission. He didn’t do what God told him to do and left the presence of God.
It’s a fact—everyone sins. Isaiah 53:6 says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way.” Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Sin isn’t just breaking rules. Sin is doing things that cause a divide in our relationship with God, our Father. The deepest essence of sin is being separated from God. Like Jonah, we are fleeing the presence of God when we disobey. Isaiah 59:2 describes this principle, “Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God.” The more we choose to sin, the more we push God away.
2. A life of sin brings storms that are too great for us to handle.
The storm that Jonah and the sailors experienced was too strong to overcome. In the same way, when we are outside of the presence of God, the circumstances of life are too great to handle.
We need God every day. There is always going to be something that shakes us. Always something that causes us to be afraid. Without the presence of the Lord, we are lost and unable to overcome trouble on our own.
3. The domino effect.
Jonah’s sin of omission caused the storm and affected those on the boat. It also had a direct affect on the Ninevites. They couldn’t hear the word of God without Jonah’s obedience.
The truth is that when we sin, it hurts others. Even secret sins that no one knows about have relational consequences because they affect the soul. When our soul is unhealthy, dark areas begin to expose themselves. For instance, Paul indirectly says in Ephesians that filthiness, foolish talking, and crude joking come from someone who is in darkness. He says it's shameful to even speak of the “things they do in secret.” The words we speak from a dark heart have negative effects on those we pour them out on.
In the same way, the light we have as Christians also has a domino affect. So, what if God wants you to be a light to your family and friends through your words and actions? You could encourage someone with your words by telling them how much they matter, how much God loves them through Jesus, or by simply complimenting them. You could be light by serving someone who needs help. Mow their lawn, take their car to get the oil changed, or pay for their meal.
4. The story of Jonah shows the love of God.
Jonah hated the Ninevites because they were evil, yet God wanted to forgive them. God loved them and wanted them to know their error. He knew they would respond to hearing His word. This same love is revealed in the life and ministry of Jesus who not only taught but showed us how to love, forgive and pray for our enemies.
5. Jesus is the greater Jonah.
The storm was calmed when Jonah was “killed.” In a greater way, when Jesus was killed or “thrown overboard,” the storm of God’s wrath relented and salvation was offered as a gift. Jesus referenced Jonah in Matthew 12:40-41,
“For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. The people of Nineveh will stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here—but you refuse to repent.”
Did you catch that? Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days, so Jesus died, was in the tomb, and resurrected from death on the third day. Just as God sent one man to share God’s word with a nation, God sent His son Jesus to be the Word for the salvation of all nations.
6. Faith comes from hearing the word of God.
When Jonah finally obeyed and delivered God's message to the Ninevites, they turned from their evil and believed in God. When we speak the word of God to others, it pierces hearts and changes lives. People are saved by hearing the word of God and entrusting their life to Jesus.
We want everyone to hear this Good News, so we encourage you to speak about Jesus and help people meet Him!
Written by: Lemuel Young