Monday, October 16, 2017

Sign Of Jonah

“While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, ‘This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. 

At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here.  At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here."

I learned something today: the sign of Jonah..   According to Wikipedia, “In the New Testament, Jonah is mentioned in Matthew 12:38–41 and 16:4 and in Luke 11:29–32 (above). In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus makes a reference to Jonah when he is asked for a sign by some of the scribes and the Pharisees. Jesus says that the sign will be the sign of Jonah: Jonah's restoration after three days inside the great fish prefigures His own resurrection.”

Three days in the whale; three days in the tomb.   This link is made visual in the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.   I've never noticed that clever comparison.    Then again there's so much to see in Michelangelo's masterpiece.

God told Jonah to go to Nineveh to tell the people to repent of their wickedness.  He went and they did.  But before Jonah could go, he prayed.  Then the whale spit him out.  Let's hear that prayer:

Out of my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me;
From the womb of Sheol I cried for help, and you heard my voice.
You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the sea, and the flood enveloped me;
All your breakers and your billows passed over me.
Then I said, “I am banished from your sight!
How will I again look upon your holy temple?”
The waters surged around me up to my neck; the deep enveloped me, 

seaweed wrapped around my head.
I went down to the roots of the mountains; to the land whose bars closed behind me forever,
But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD, my God.
When I became faint, I remembered the LORD;
My prayer came to you in your holy temple.
Those who worship worthless idols abandon their hope for mercy.
But I, with thankful voice, will sacrifice to you;
What I have vowed I will pay: deliverance is from the LORD.


Perhaps this a prayer we all should pray when we feel we've been cast into a pit - into the heart of the sea with waters up to our necks.    "Deliver us O LORD!  Give us a sign of your mercy.  Help us."  God did by giving us Jesus.

Deacon David Pierce

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