Douglas VanBronkhorst

Read: Ephesians 3:1-21

I pray that you [may be] rooted and established in [Christ’s] love. (v. 7 NIV)

The central figure in this story is God. Jonah is fascinating (“villains” often are), but not nearly as interesting as the character of God revealed in his interactions with Jonah. The big fish interests people of all ages (like all monsters and miracles), but its role isn’t as astounding as what God does. Nineveh was important in the ancient world (this story highlights that history), but God’s plan of salvation for time and eternity (illustrated by Jonah) transcends an earthly empire.

Jonah struggles to overcome personal prejudices and preconceived ideas about God and the world. He runs on anger more than truth. He fails to grasp the centrality of God’s mission to the purpose of his life. He recognizes sin in others but not in himself. He fails to appreciate how God is able to bring perfect love and justice together, and what that means for his personal guilt, grace, and gratitude. We need to learn from Jonah. It doesn’t matter if we ever see a monster fish, but it matters terribly if we don’t apply the lessons of this book.

Did Jonah finally get it? Did he become a prophet majoring in God’s love, grace, and good news? Or did he stay an angry, bitter man, outside God’s mission looking in? The story doesn’t tell us, because the real point isn’t Jonah’s final response, but yours and mine. —Doug Van Bronkhorst

Prayer: Lord I know Jonah’s struggles all too well. Open my mind to your Word and my heart to your mission in the world. Amen.