24-25 Aug 2019, Christ Mountain Top
Praying the Scripture, Psalm 16
Children, Mark 1.9-11
Message, Luke 11.27-36, Matthew 12.38-50
accidental evangelist, how NOT to witness
hypocritical evangelist, how NOT to pray
suicidal evangelist, how NOT to be happy
Today: Jonah and Jesus, using the insights of the early church fathers, who were quite creative in reading Scripture with a laser focus on Jesus. In fact, the Jonah story was the #1 Christian art work in the ancient church, even more than the cross!
AND, Jonah and Jesus, how Jesus talked about Jonah. Matthew and Luke’s gospel report Jesus’ comment on Jonah as a SIGN. Both of those passages have some shared themes in the context. So, we’re going to look at those common themes:
· The Outsiders
· The Cost
· The Sign
· The Word Preached
The Outsiders: Pagans repent, church people don’t
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.
Matthew 12.41 and Luke 11.32When an impure spirit comes out of a person … seven other spirits more wicked than itself. And the final condition of that person is worst than the first.
Matthew 12.43-45 and also in Luke 11.24-26 (not read)
With this, there is a sense of surprise, that the natural assumptions and expectations we have are somehow overturned. Why wouldn’t God’s people be the first to respond to God’s Word? But over and over in the story of Israel and the church, it is outsiders who repent, outsiders who – if we are willing – just may be able to lead us religious folks home.
In addition, there is a sense of judgment. The folks who should know, don’t. And the folks who have the light fail to allow it to shine on their own lives.
But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.
This was Jonah’s problem: The light within him was darkness.
Chrysostom, ACCS OT XIV, The Twelve Prophets, 132
Nothing is so heavy and onerous to bear as sin and disobedience. [what weighed down the ship in the sea despite having cast the cargo overboard]
The Cost: Is the condemnation of God’s people and the surprising salvation of the outsiders directly connected?
For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people….
Jerome, ACCS OT XIV, The Twelve Prophets, 130
[Because Nineveh eventually goes on to eradicate Israel’s now “ten lost tribes”,] The repentance of the [Ninevites] is the ruin of the Jews…. [Jonah] does not so much envy the deliverance of Nineveh as will that his own country should not perish.
In Jonah’s story, this question of cost is speculative to some degree. That is, the text itself does not address it directly. However, in Jesus’ story, our salvation comes at the cost of his destruction. And we are invited to join in his mission. What cost are we willing to pay?
Jerome, ACCS OT XIV, The Twelve Prophets, 134
[Jonah and the sailors in the storm]: Before the passion of Christ … the entire boat of humanity, that is, the creation of the Lord, was in peril.
Augustine, ACCS OT XIV, The Twelve Prophets, 140
As Jonah went from the ship into the belly of the whale, so Christ went from the tree into the tomb, or into the abyss of death. And as Jonah was sacrificed for those endangered by the storm, so Christ was offered for those who are drowning in the storm of this world.
What cost are we willing to pay as we join Jesus in mission?
Kenda Creasy Dean, “Love Made Me an Inventor” at Navigate:
In 1909, the blacksmith union sent out an appeal for more blacksmiths to join the union. They were in decline, so every one needs to recruit one. They did see a small increase in the next year. But within 10 years, the union was dead, because of the Model T. The transportation industry changed.
I teach at a seminary. I think that seminaries are preparing blacksmiths better than ever. The problem is that the industry is changing.
How much of the church as we know it are we willing to let go of in order to follow Jesus?
There were blacksmiths who survived into the new era. They became the first mechanics.
· Jonah himself by his preaching in particular (Luke 11.30, “as Jonah was a sign”)
· Jonah’s story as a type of death and resurrection: For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish (sea monster), so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Matthew 12.40
For this reason, as well as Jonah’s prayer from the “belly of Sheol” in Jonah 2, interpreters from Cyril of Jerusalem to our own era have suggested that Jonah himself may have died in the belly of the fish. (ACCS OT XIV, The Twelve Prophets, 135 and – I think – J. Vernon McGee)
Cyril of Jerusalem, ACCS OT XIV, The Twelve Prophets, 135
Now when we study the story of Jonah the force of the resemblance becomes striking. Jesus was sent to preach repentance. So was Jonah. … Jonah was cast into the belly of a great fish, but Christ of his own will descended to the abode of the invisible fish of death. He went down of his own will to make death disgorge those it had swallowed up.
The Word Preached: Connection to God is not based on biological inheritance but on response to the Word of God (as repenting at the preaching of Jonah):
Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you
Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey
Who is my mother and who are my brothers? … For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.
Tertullian, ACCS OT XIV, The Twelve Prophets, 139
Jonah was swallowed by the monster of the deep, in whose belly whole ships were devoured, and after three days he was vomited out again safe and sound. … To what faith do these notable events bear witness, if not to that which ought to inspire in us the belief that they are proofs and documents of our own future and our completed resurrection?
What does it look like when we believe in “our own future and our completed resurrection”?
Jonah’s tomb: one of the traditional sites is in Nineveh (modern Mosul). Over the traditional site of the burial of a Jewish prophet, a church, then later a mosque were constructed. Though there is a book in the Koran named for Jonah, the site was blown up by ISIS in 2014, and a then unknown 2,600 year old Assyrian temple was found in the ruins. This ancient site still serves as a reminder of Jonah’s message of God’s love for the whole world, for what Jerome calls “the entire boat of humanity.”
Maggy Barankitse, for the orphans of Burundi after ethnic cleansing (Kenda Creasy Dean)
· Every day I improvise new life.
· Love overcoming the power of bitterness
· Put a swimming pool where she found many bodies so that the baptismal waters can clean all the sin