Jonah’s Story

Douglas VanBronkhorst

Read: Matthew 12:38-41

No sign will be given . . . except the sign of the prophet Jonah. (Matt. 12:39)

I visited an old, abandoned church on the Turkish island of Cunda (pronounced JUNE-dah). It was a relic of the tragic aftermath of World War I when Greek Christians were either killed or forced to flee to Greece—while a similar thing was happening to Turkish Muslims in Greece. A man by the church door said I could “see the fresco,” for a small donation. On the church’s wall was a painting depicting Jonah. That story has always captured people’s imaginations, mostly because of that part with the really big fish.

Jonah’s “burial” in the sea and “resurrection” after three days was a sign, said Jesus, pointing to his own resurrection from the dead. And Nineveh’s repentance was important, too. The whole Jonah story, taken together, helps us better understand God and his ways, especially with sinful people. That’s where the Ninevites and their response come in, along with Jonah’s bad attitude.

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll look at seven sections of Jonah’s story from his point of view, and then from God’s perspective as “conversations” in Jonah’s head and in heaven (italicized), at least as I’ve imagined them. Only they know exactly what they were thinking. However, we can apply what they said and did in ways that will, hopefully, help us be more like God in our attitudes and behaviors, and (sorry to say) less like Jonah. —Doug Van Bronkhorst

Prayer: Lord, help me see my own heart, and make me more like you. Amen.