Jesus and Jonah, Part 2
There’s another interesting connection between Jesus and Jonah. Both of their ministries demonstrated the power of God to conquer rebels.
Both Jonah and Jesus preached an authoritative message of repentance to people who opposed God. Sure, they preached to different people at different times, but their core message applied to all—God has the power to conquer your rebellion, and the mercy to forgive you.
God’s Power over His Rebellious Followers
God commanded Jonah—a Jew who followed God—to take a message to the Ninevites. But Jonah rebelled against God. As I sometimes rehearse with my kids, God said, “Go!” and Jonah said, “No!” Jonah’s rebellion didn’t stem from any ignorance or confusion over God’s command. Rather, he deliberately chose to disobey, and fled in the opposite direction. Although Jonah had received God’s covenants and had been chosen as a prophet of God, he rebelled and found himself swallowed by a fish. Through a series of incredible events, God powerfully subdued Jonah and mercifully redirected His rebellious prophet.
God’s Power over His Rebellious Enemies
Jonah, having experienced the power and mercy that God shows to rebels, then took God’s message to God’s enemies. The Ninevites were infamous for their wicked idolatry and horrific cruelty to their captives. Nahum, the prophet, called Nineveh a city of blood (Nahum 3:1). Historic accounts portray the kings of Nineveh boasting of horrific torture enacted on their captives. These rebels, outsiders who committed atrocities against God’s people, did not have God’s favor. Yet God used them to accomplish His plans for Israel. Even more incredible, God showed mercy to them. They heard and saw God’s justice through the message of Jonah. By forgiving the Ninevites’ as they repented, God conquered their sinful rebellion.
Conquering by Mercy
Jesus, a perfect prophet and perfect sacrifice, endured death after He took on the sin of God’s enemies. He suffered by taking our place, bearing the full punishment of God on rebellious sinners. One greater than Jonah brought a message of justice and mercy, and then willingly gave Himself for His enemies. Those who rebel against God—both His followers and His enemies—must respond to Jesus’ sacrifice with belief. Jesus’ resurrection, like Jonah’s, reveals that God conquers rebels by His power and offers merciful forgiveness.
You can read part three of this series here.
Born in Chicago but raised out West in a pastor’s family, Jason Ehmann has been involved with ministry all his life. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Bible and a master’s in Counseling, Jason has served as youth pastor, senior pastor, and now president at Positive Action. Today he helps pastors and teachers show God’s glory and grace to their students. A big fan of coffee, Jason also enjoys skiing and football, as well as art and design. He and his wife live in North Carolina with their four children.
Random fact: As a teenager, Jason spent a year in South Africa on a missions trip with his parents.
If you’d like to hit up Jason for ideas and resources for your ministry, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.