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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Jesus and Jonah

Matt did an excellent job leading us through Jonah 1 for youth group. As he was taking us through the context of the chapter, a noticed a side trail in my head (which I'm glad he didn't pursue, for it had nothing to do with the course of his lesson). A parellel passage jumped to my mind. I'll post them both and then comment:
4 The LORD hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. 5 Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten {it} for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep. 6 So the captain approached him and said, "How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps {your} god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish." 7 Each man said to his mate, "Come, let us cast lots so we may learn on whose account this calamity {has struck} us." So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 Then they said to him, "Tell us, now! On whose account {has} this calamity {struck} us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?" 9 He said to them, "I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land." 10 Then the men became extremely frightened and they said to him, "How could you do this?" For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.--Jonah 1:5-10
23 When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. 25 And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing!" 26 He said to them, "Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?" Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. 27 The men were amazed, and said, "What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"--Matthew 8:23-27
Jonah 1 is the kind of chapter that once you've heard it, it's hard to forget. Therefore, there is great probability that the fishermen, who have spent part of their childhood studying in a synagogue vividly remember the story. The picture of Jesus asleep during a fierce storm must have made them think of Jonah (maybe not during the situation, but certainly after).

The people with Jonah come to Jonah and ask him to call out to his God to calm the storm. After casting Jonah overboard, they also praise God, realizing He calmed the storm.

Jesus simply stands and rebukes the wind, which immediately stops. Undoubtedly, this miracle attests to the divinity of Jesus (for it even makes the disciples ponder further). However, I used to wonder why Jesus questioned their faith. Didn't they come to Him and ask Him to save them? However, looking at Mark 4:35 and Luke 8:24 seems to show us their plea was not out of faith, but out of fear. The were not calling out to Jesus because they believed Him to be God and believed He could calm the see, but because they were panicked.

Yet, Jesus does not stand and call out to God to calm the waves. It is also not necessary for Jesus to jump out of the boat (for He had not sinned and stirred up God's wrath). Rather, Jesus asserts His divinity when He Himself calls for the waves to be calmed.

Jonah, who was asleep in a boat, had angered God with His disobedience, and only God could remove the storm.

Jesus, who was asleep in a boat, was pleasing to God, and Himself calmed the storm.

A parallel that may seem insignificant to some, but jumped out to me tonight.


  • At 11:24 PM, Blogger Chloe Lou said…

    I thought Matt did a great job too. Although, I couldn't help but read the entire story. I've heard the story, but the childhood version doesn't really cover anything. It sparked tons of questions though. I can't wait to hear how he handles the rest of the story.

  • At 2:04 PM, Blogger danny2 said…

    what! you kept reading your Bible?

    shame, shame on you chloe! ;)

  • At 9:59 AM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    Terry Cummings is an ordained minister.


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