Jonah is, at its heart, a story about you and me. Pause to think about the immense implications of that for a moment. Too many people have focused on the big fish rather than the big God. In these opening verses we see the lavish grace of God as he speaks, as he is present, as he directs. This God pursues Jonah in the midst of his rebellion and pride. This God won't let go. This God is your God, the same God, the God of grace upon grace in the person of Jesus. If you want to watch the video that Raj refers to in his introduction you can find it here: Veggie Tales: Jonah was a prophet
Running away from God has brought Jonah to a low and desperate place. There can often be moments of despair in all our lives, yet it's often in these moments that we discover the depth of the love of God. Simon reminds us that it is the grace of God that we need to keep receiving as we walk through the highs and lows of life.
Why are there so many people outside the church who are seemingly 'better people' than churched people? Why haven't Christians got it more together than non-Christians? How can we believe in a faith that seems to have sanctioned war, violence, racism and injustice over the years? And what about those ‘religious fanatics’?
What do we say to these very valid questions.? How does the Jonah narrative help us critique Christianity and indeed ourselves? Let's delve deeper!
When we read the Bible, we can sometimes be quick to identify with heroes, like David or Joshua. Yet, how often do we identify with someone like Jonah? God planned to bless the whole world, yet when Jonah was called to play his part in this mission, he ran. We are like Jonah when we choose our way, instead of God's. However, God will have His way and when our identity is secure in Jesus Christ, we find we're enabled to live for him and even to bring our big questions to God, rather than simply running away.
As we move on in the story of Jonah we see Jonah caught in a great storm along with the rest of the people on his ship. As people, we often face various storms in our own lives as individuals; difficulties, illness or suffering. We also see great storms which face us as a society - the world can be full of storms! In this talk, Gavin looks at what the different reactions in this story can teach us about our reactions to some of the storms in life that we face. Should we deal with them in the same way that Jonah or the Sailors did or is there an even better way?