#731. THE KILLING OF AN INNOCENT MAN (18/1/23)
‘The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?” “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.” Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.’ (Jonah 1:11-16)
Summary: Jonah is a type of Christ, with his being cast into the sea symbolising Jesus' death as an innocent man for our salvation.
You can watch this devotional at:
It’s ironic that the sailors call Jonah ‘an innocent man’. This is prophetic; through these unbelieving sailors, we hear the gospel. Their words are pointing -foreshadowing- the death of the only ‘innocent man’ - Jesus. Jesus was without sin and he died in our place. He took our sin and we receive His perfect righteousness. Peter writes of Jesus’ death for us:
‘For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.’ (1 Peter 3:18)
The Old Testament, as in Jonah, is full of types and prophecies about Jesus’ coming and His salvation. Another example is Psalm 22, where we read what Jesus will quote from the cross:
‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Psalm 22:1; Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46)
Jesus’ words speak of His understanding that He is fulfilling the types and prophecies of the Old Testament. He is forsaken for our sin. He is thrown into the sea of God’s wrath for our justification.
RESPONSE: LOOK FOR JESUS IN THE TEXT
When reading the Old Testament, it is essential to look for Jesus, who is the fulfilment of the promises, types, and shadows presented throughout the text. He is the Jonah who goes into the storm to save us, the true David who conquers the giant of sin and death, the Joseph who goes down into suffering for the salvation of his people, the lamb of atonement, the true and righteous king, the high priest, and the one who leads us into the true Promised Land of eternal rest. The Old Testament is full of prefigurations of Jesus, understanding it will help us to see the deeper meaning of the stories and will help us to see Jesus as the centre of the story.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Don’t forget that this is the last week that people can sign up for Alpha on Tuesday evening (7:00-9:00).
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week?
3. RECAP OF SUNDAY’S MESSAGE - PLEASE SHARE IN YOUR GROUP
BIG IDEA: GOD SENDS A STORM TO WAKE UP THOSE WHO ARE SPIRITUALLY ASLEEP.
Please read Jonah 1:4-16
The story of Jonah serves as a reminder of the consequences of running away from God's call and becoming spiritually asleep. Jonah, a prophet of God, was called to go to Nineveh and help the people there, but he disobeyed and went in the opposite direction. He got on a ship and went below deck, where he fell into a deep sleep. God then sent a storm to bring Jonah to his senses and wake him up to his mission. The sailors on the ship cast lots to find out who was responsible for the storm, and the lot fell on Jonah. They asked him to tell them who he was and why he was causing the storm. Jonah replied that he was a Hebrew and worshiped the Lord, and that the storm was his fault. The sailors threw Jonah overboard, and the sea calmed down. The main idea of the story is that God uses storms as a way to wake up those who are spiritually asleep. It serves as a reminder to not run away from God and to always be active and prayerful in serving His mission.
On Sunday, we discussed the importance of SIV - a strategy of building relationships to bring others to Jesus. The three key elements of SIV include serving the real needs of others, investing time to deepen relationships, and inviting individuals into church community and events such as Alpha. By actively engaging in these actions, and through prayer, we trust that we will have opportunities to share the gospel and lead others to a deeper understanding and relationship with God through Christ. If you missed it, you might find it helpful to watch this interview with Jason together:
4. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
What are the things that make a Christian becomes spiritually asleep and lose a passion for God’s mission to see people become Christians?
Would you say that you were awake or sleepy in your love for God and His mission? Give reasons for your answer.
Why does God send the storm?
What are the ways that God uses to wake us up to a fresh love for Him and His mission?
How have you Served, Invested and Invited in your communities this week? (Let’s share about this again next week)
How have you got on with making a list and praying for your non-believing friends each day? (Let’s share about this again next week)
Let’s now pray for specific people that God has put on your heart and in your life.
Let’s pray for each other that the Spirit would wake us up -revive us - with fresh love for Him and those to whom God has sent us.