Light and Dark – Jonah

Jonah was in a fish! It was dark in there! Him being spit out put him back into light.  This signals the time Jesus would spend in the grave. The first mention of Jonah is in 2 Kings 14: 25 where he is credited with a prophesy that came true, the story of the Book of Jonah would have been after this.

The thing that leaves you hanging about Jonah is what happened to him?  Did he repent of the harsh attitude, did he go back to Israel, or did he just stay bitter?  

Peter was identified as “bar Jonah” or son of Jonah.  It would be a stretch to say they were related!  Matthew 16: 17 does not seem to imply that Jesus was being “funny”, so that probably was Peter’s name.  Peter may have had similar traits as Jonah (hard-headed, impulsive, teachable but slow to change), so we can hope that Jonah returned to God like Peter did.  

ThreeThree days and three nights is the most notable part of Jonah’s ordeal.  That is because it has three references in the New Testament – two different times in Matthew (12: 41 + 16: 4) and one repeat in Luke (11: 29).  Jesus offered it as the only sign from heaven that unbelieving Jews would get.  I noticed that there were three “God provided” after Jonah preached to Nineveh – the plant, the worm, and the wind.  There was also a three day walk across the city.

The study of Solomon, Jesus walking on water, and this one, all have connections to the festivals that happen in the seventh month”. (Jonah is read as an example of repenting and reaching out to a Gentile nation.)

End and Start – Jonah’s time in the fish ended his disobedience and started his journey to face his fear of being labeled a “false prophet” if Nineveh was not destroyed.  At this time in history, Assyria was oppressing Israel and would send a replacement population to occupy Samaria. So, Jonah had serious reasons, in his mind, why he was not going to do it (hatred of Assyria, fear of being a false prophet).  Even though other prophets had dealings with foreign nations this was the first prophet that was specifically sent to an enemy nation telling them to repent!

FURTHER THOUGHT – Have you done a “Jonah”? Have you ever tried to run from something that Jesus wanted you to do?  How did it end?

Passover to Pentecost – Pray

Passover to Pentecost – Pray        Week 7 Day 2

“Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11: 1 (NIV)

These five words in Luke 11 are nestled in between two powerful pieces of information and are at the beginning of thirteen verses about prayer.  This example of how to pray is also found in Matthew 6: 5 – 15 that gives us another layer of facts about prayer.  The fact that the disciples choose to spend their time of waiting in Jerusalem in prayer is the natural extension of what they saw Jesus doing as He ministered.  The first fact in verse one is Jesus had finished praying when He was asked to teach them.  The second one is that these ex-disciples of John saw the need for teaching on this subject.

Many of the references in Luke to Jesus praying mention a quiet place or Him being alone or with a small group; Matthew records Him telling people to pray in private.  So when we read that the disciples are “hidden” in the Upper Room praying that makes sense.

What were they praying about?  A possible topic of pray for the 120 saints in the Upper Room may have been forgiveness.  I might guess that the period of ten days may have been pretty intense.  Jesus was killed, and then He was alive just too ascended, and be gone one more time.  He promised them to send a Counselor to them to walk with them as they spread His message.  Okay, why forgiveness?  Matthew records in 6:15 as Jesus taught about pray that if you do not forgive the Father will not forgive you; then John in 20: 22 + 23 that as Jesus breathed on them the Holy Spirit He mentioned about the forgiving sins.  These verses do make forgiving people a priority.

I will jump to Paul as he is teaching the Corinthians about things of the Spirit, chapter 12 is on spiritual gifts and how the Body is joined and related.  He ends that chapter by saying here is the most “excellent way.”  (For those you dismiss 1 Corinthians chapters 12 and 14 as not for this time.  Why would Paul/ the Holy Spirit bother to include it at all?)  Paul knew that you needed to use spiritual things in love in order to fulfill the Great Commission.

Forgiveness is something that we have to choose to do.  I am finding out that many times it is more important to the one doing the forgiving than the offending party.  In that highly charged atmosphere that they had just been in for two months forgiveness may have been on their minds; because to spread the message of the kingdom effectively you should not be harboring forgiveness.