THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JONAH (4) THEN JONAH PRAYED
During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled ‘The Gospel according to Jonah’ (4); “Then Jonah Prayed”. Her main text was taken from the Book of Jonah chapters 1 and 2; and Mark 4:35-41.
The story of Jonah is more than a children’s tale. It is more than an adventure about a great fish. It the revelation of God and His Grace towards men. It is the testimony of King Grace. Simply said, Grace means unmerited favor, undeserved Kindness for the sake of Christ! In the Book of Jonah, we shall find the Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected. The study of this Book from the Old Testament will help us see that the Bible is One. In the Old Testament the Gospel is revealed in symbols and shadows. In the New Testament, we see reality of the Gospel. There are many deep revelations here, about salvation and the call of God to ministry. All people can gain wisdom and strength from the study of the Book of Jonah, but in particular the backsliders. Praise the Lord!
WHO IS JONAH?
Jonah was the son of Amittai. In Hebrew, the name “Amittai” means Truthful or Faithful. Jonah comes from a good Hebrew family. The Name “Jonah” means “Dove”. It is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Jonah was a true Prophet of Jehovah God. God wanted to use him as an ambassador of peace. He prophesied during Jeroboam II, a wicked king of Israel. Jonah lived in a small town called Gath Hepher, located at the north border of ancient Israel. It was part of the inheritance of the Tribe of Zebulun (Joshua 19:13). (Today, the town does not exist. There are some ruins there, and a stone said to be Jonah’s tomb. The ruins are five Kilometers north of Nazareth). Jonah must have lived between 800 and 750BC. Assyria was Israel’s neighbor in the north. At that time, the Kingdom of Assyria was the greatest power in the world. Its capital, Nineveh, founded by Nimrod, was at its peak. (The Kingdom of Assyria was conquered by Babylon in 600 BC). Jonah’s ministry started immediately after the prophets Elijah and Elisha. It is possible that Jonah was a disciple of Elisha.
THE THEME OF THE BOOK OF JONAH – SALVATION IS OF THE LORD!
The Book of Jonah is not a prophecy. It is the Prophet’s miraculous story, his testimony, and his relationship with Jehovah God. Jonah’s story reveals the way The God of all Grace deals with His people, even when they rebel against His commands. The greatest revelation in the Book of Jonah is that “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). In Jonah we discover the Gospel, the power of seeking Grace. It is not man looking for God but God seeking and finding the lost! “Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai,,,” (Jonah 1:1). This is how the Book of Jonah starts. It is not Jonah’s word that matters. It is God’s Word that starts the story. God is always first! The Gospel is not man’s work but God’s. Grace always ignites the fire. But Jonah struggles with the Grace of God. He loves to experience grace for himself, but he does not what to extend that grace to others. The story of Jonah helps us to understand and appreciate the irresistible Grace of God in salvation and redemption. Throughout the story of Jonah, we see that God is all-powerful, kind, patient, and faithful. For not good reason, God loves Jonah from the beginning to the end! There is no other explanation for this love except the Grace of God!
Jonah’s rebellion ends in the belly of a great fish sent be God to arrest him. In that fishy prison, Jonah comes back to his senses, and he does two things: he repents, and he prays to God. All Bible commentators do not agree when did Jonah pray. Some say that he when he was thrown in the sea, he sank to the bottom of it and died. A great fish sent by God swallowed him dead. He was in its belly for three days as Lazarus was in the tomb for four days. Then God resuscitated Jonah as he did with Lazarus. After coming back to life, Jonah, in the belly of the fish, he finally repented of his rebellion, and he prayed with faith and thanksgiving. Then the fish vomited Jonah unto dry ground near Nineveh. Other Bible commentators say that the fish was close to the boat. When Jonah was thrown into the sea, the fish swallowed him immediately. Jonah stayed alive in the belly of the fish for three days. That is when he prayed. Either way, one thing is clear: Jonah encountered his God. He passed thru death unto life. Jonah experienced the grace and mercy of the Lord, his God. In the natural, there was no hope for him. He could not save himself from the belly of the fish, a watery grave for him. But God saved him by His Grace and by His sovereign will. This is a picture of the Gospel of Christ!
The Book of Jonah, in the Old Testament, gives us a clear prophetic picture of Christ crucified and resurrected. It is a reminder that a sinner cannot save himself. The wages of sin is death. The only way a sinner can be saved, is by the Grace of God! Our Lord identified Himself with Jonah. He rebuked the religious leaders who wanted a sign for Him to prove His authority. He said the only sign that will be given is the sign of Jonah. “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here” (Mt 12:38-41). Christ was crucified by these religious hypocrites. He died, and He was buried. By His glory, God the Father resurrected Him from the dead. He died on behalf of sinners who shall believe in Him. The Cross will convict all men of sin. Those who repent and believe like Jonah, will be saved. Those who continue in their unbelief and hypocrisy, are condemned already. God saved the sinners in Nineveh so that they will be witnesses in heaven to the Grace of the Gospel of Christ. They obeyed the command to repent! They became believers at the preaching of Jonah. Our Lord is ‘greater’ than Jonah. This is the Power of the Gospel to save those who believe! Glory!
In the belly of the fish, Jonah prays to the Lord, his God. The word ‘prayed’ means to cry to God and to judge himself. Jonah now repents of his sins, especially of rebellion. The prodigal son is ready to come back home! He prays to Jehovah Elohim, meaning the God of the Covenant, and the Creator of the universe. Jonah prays as a believer. He remembers that God is the Covenant keeping God who has promised to answer and help His people when they are in trouble. He also sees God as the Creator of the earth and the sea, having all powers over His creation. This prayer is a genuine prayer of faith. Face to face with death, we are all humbled. It is in times of crisis that the truth about us is revealed. That is why God allows troubles, to help us discover who God is and, to discover ourselves. This is God’s promise: “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me” (Ps 50:15). The word ‘trouble’ here means ‘a tight corner’. When in trouble, do not try to save yourself thru sinful imaginations and evil manipulations. Forget what men can do to help you! Remember God! He knows that you are in this trouble because He ‘supervises it’. He wants to use it to manifest His power and grace, to recuse you. The deliverance will end in giving glory to God and for your own good. All true believers have this testimony that when they were in serious trouble, and no man could help, God manifested Himself and saved them from death.
From ‘the belly of Sheol’ Jonah cries out to God in a desperate prayer of faith. He does not say from the belly of the fish. He says, ‘from the belly of Sheol’. This word means the land of the dead, the spiritual cemetery of hell. Jonah cannot go lower than that. But this is the miracle of true prayer: God heard His voice! This is a great lesson: when you are in trouble, run to God! Do not run away from God! After God saves you, live your life to the praise and glory of His name! Do not forget God’s help in times past. Live your life in thanksgiving to God! Passing thru the valley of the shadow of death should make us better people. We should study God’s Word, pray more, be more humble, more compassionate with others, and wiser in all our decisions. We should never take God’s help for granted. We should honor the God of all Grace! Be reminded that Grace is never given to demons. They will never experience the grace and mercy of God. Grace is God’s gift to His children alone! Selah!
King David had faith that God will not abandon him in the grave and his body will not see corruption. This is what he said: “I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore, my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps 16:8-11). He had hope that his soul is eternally saved, and his body will one day be resurrected. This is the faith and hope of all true believers in Christ. What was David’s secret of this confidence? It is the secret of all true believers. He cultivated the presence of God. “I have set the Lord always before me”. He made sure that his conscience was always free from guilt. He acknowledged God in all his ways. Because of this holy lifestyle, he was joyful even in troubles and had the assurance of salvation. When Peter preached his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, he refers to David’s prophetic words. Peter said that David referred to Christ, the Son of David, who resurrected on the third day. David’s body saw ‘corruption’, waiting for the resurrection day. But Christ’s Body did not see corruption. We, the believers in Christ, the Body of Christ, have this hope also. One day, when Christ comes again, our bodies will rise from the ground and become spiritual glorious bodies like our Lord’s. Listen to Peter: “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses” (Ac 2:29-32).
Jonah’s body did not see corruption in the belly of the fish. It did not decompose inside. Death did not have power of Jonah’s body and soul. This is a great picture of our Lord Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection. It is also a wonderful encouragement to us all, that God will not abandon us to the grave. This hope of glory should influence our thinking and attitude to life, especially when trials come. Jonah prays: ‘You (God) cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods surrounded me; All Your billows and Your waves passed over me’ (Jonah 2:3). It is true that it was the mariners who cast Jonah into the sea, and that action was at his request. But here, Jonah says that it was God’s will for him to be cast into the sea of death. The floods are sea currents. The sea was not calm. Jonah was cast unto the troubled sea. Now Jonah sees God’s sovereign hand in everything. This is a great revelation! Jonah is maturing spiritually! Praise the Lord!
There are other examples when men rejected God’s children and sent them to die. But God was using their evil deeds for His own glory. For example, Joseph’s brothers cast him into the pit for him to die. But God saved Joseph from death. From pit, Joseph went to Potiphar’s house, then to prison and at last, into the palace. The way up goes down first. It is God’s way. Later, when the wicked Pharoah commanded that every Jewish baby boy should be thrown into River Nile to die, Baby Moses was saved and became the leader of his people. This is another great lesson: men may reject you, may throw you away like dirt, but God always intervenes and saves His people. What men call ‘trash’ God calls ‘salvation’. This is the story of Jesus! This is our story! This is the power of the Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected!
Jonah was running away from the presence of God. In the belly of the fish, he finally succeeded to run away from God’s presence. Or so he thought. But it is there, in the belly of Sheol, that Jonah starts to miss God’s presence. For a moment he thought he will never experience the sweet glory of His presence. “Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight; Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’ (Jonah 2:4). The words ‘cast out’ mean to divorce. For a moment, like an unfaithful wife running from her good husband, Jonah thought that God has divorced him. But how little he knew the faithfulness of God. Amid the terrible fear of a life and death without God, Jonah says ‘yet’! There is a ‘yet’ for all believers who come to this point of no return! Jonah decided to use his last moments on this earth by ‘looking again to God’s holy Temple’. Jonah was born in the northern Israel where people raised a false altar to Jehovah God. It is possible that Jonah was going to Jerusalem on pilgrimage, to worship God in Solomon’s temple. He knew the presence of God. He felt it in that temple. He knew the promise God gave about people who pray trusting the God of the Temple. The promise was that if men pray towards the Temple in Jerusalem God will hear and God will help. That was the faith of Daniel who was rescued from the lions. At the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem, King Solomon prayed: “may You hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear in heaven Your dwelling place; and when You hear, forgive” (1Kg 8:30). From inside the belly of the fish, Jonah remembered God, and especially His promise of mercy and grace. “When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; And my prayer went up to You, Into Your holy temple”. When the veil of death covered his eyes and soul, with the last breath of his lips, Jonah remembered God and prayed! It was not a usual prayer. It was a prayer that ‘went up’ to God. From dying lips, the prayer got resurrection wings, passed thru the fish body, thru the waters, and went to God’s heaven. God answered! Our Lord prayed on the Cross. His Blood shed, His body broken, He prayed and gave God his spirit! Do you know the power of such a prayer?
This is another great lesson: When you are in trouble, forget all people and all things but remember God! Remember His Love and Faithfulness! Remember His great acts of power! We change! Circumstances change! But God neve changes! He is forever the same! Promise me that when you weep, you remember God! “Has His mercy ceased forever? Has His promise failed forevermore? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? Selah! And I said, “This is my anguish; But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.” I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely, I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work And talk of Your deeds. Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary; Who is so great a God as our God? You are the God who does wonders; You have declared Your strength among the peoples. You have with Your arm redeemed Your people, The sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah The waters saw You, O God; The waters saw You, they were afraid; The depths also trembled… Your way was in the sea, Your path in the great waters, And Your footsteps were not known. You led Your people like a flock By the hand of Moses and Aaron” (Ps 77:8-15; 19, 20)
Now, Jonah sees the foolishness of serving idols. These are called worthless idols or ‘lying vanities’ (Jonah 2:8. KJ). To serve anything other than God, that is an idol. For sinners, self is the greatest idol. If you want to do your will, that is an idol. Let God’s will be done! All idols are full of promises, but they can never perform. They are deceitful, and never bring satisfaction. Jonah says that if you cling to idols, you forsake the Grace and Mercy God offers, the source of all goodness and help. That is the tragedy of idolatry. Finally, Jonah says: “I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.” (Jonah 2:9). In other words, Jonah promised God to serve Him alone forever. He vows that once he is out of this fish, he will serve God! He will go to Nineveh and preach the Gospel to them. Praise and thanksgiving are sacrifices accepted by God. Jonah declares that ‘Salvation is of the Lord’! The word ‘salvation’ is ‘Jeshua’. It also means victory, deliverance, prosperity. These are found only in the Lord (Jehovah). In other words, Jonah has now declared that “Jesus is Lord”. It is only by the Holy Spirit that a man can truly declare that (1 Cor 12:3). This is the best and the last word of Jonah in the belly of the fish. God has heard his prayer and confession. Jesus is Lord! God’s decision is that Jonah shall live and not die and he shall declare the works of the Lord (Ps 118:17). Immediately, “The Lord spoke to the fish and it vomited Jonah onto dry land” (Jonah 2:9). What a testimony of the Grace of God! Hallelujah!
TWO STORMS – ONE LORD!
“On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (Mk 4:35-41)
Jesus said that he is ‘greater than Jonah’. We shall look at the story when Jesus stopped the storm. Like Jonah, Jesus too was sleeping in the boat. But there was a major difference. Jonah was a rebellious believer. Our Lord was obedient to His Father, even unto death. The mariners on the boat going to Tarshish were afraid that they will die. They repented of idolatry and surrendered their lives to Jehovah, Jonah’s God. The disciples of Jesus also were afraid that they will die. They learned many lessons, that ‘one greater than Jonah’ was their Savior and Lord! During the worse moment of his life, Jonah prayed to Jesus who alone could save him! And He did! The Gospel of Jonah shows us the pursuing Grace of Chastisement. The Gospel of Christ crucified and resurrected reveals the reality of Grace, Truth, Power, and Eternal Life. Worthy is the Lamb!
Leaving the crowd behind, The Lord commanded His disciples saying: ‘Let us cross over to the other side’! Jesus was tired and fell asleep in the stern, on a pillow. This ‘pillow’ was made of leather, and it was placed there for the captain. The way Jesus slept reveals to us the humanity of Jesus. As a man, He was tired, hungry, and thirsty. He was tired and sleeping as a Man, but as God, He was always watchful. “Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber [briefly] nor sleep [soundly]” (Ps 121:4; AMP). As they were sailing on the Sea of Galilee, suddenly, ‘a great windstorm’ arose (Mk 4:37) and ‘also came down on the lake’ (Lk 8:23). The Sea of Galilee is usually calm. Occasionally, strong hurricanes suddenly come on it. The reason is because the Sea is 700 feet below Sea level, and it is surrounded by great mountains. The cold air from the mountains comes down and ‘troubles’ the Sea. The disciples are all fishermen. This Sea is their ‘territory’. They are used to navigate during storms. But this ‘windstorm’ was different. In fact, it was a perfect storm! The sudden violent gush of cold wind, and the rain that accompanied it, was different that anything they have seen in the past. There was a fearful wickedness of the wind that could not be explained. The waves carried the boat high, on the mighty waves. Then the boat will go low, almost to the bottom of the sea. The water was going into the boat. There was a genuine danger that they will all drown. It was not just the boat that was flooded. Their hearts became flooded with fear! The disciples tried to manage the situation, but all their efforts were in vain. The fear of death became their master now. Drenched, shivering cold, afraid they ran to Jesus! This is good! We should always run to Jesus!
DOES JESUS CARE FOR US?
The disciples complained: “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”. It is possible that it was Peter who asked the question, but he represented all of them. The question reveals their hearts. They were impatient, angry, and even rude with their “Teacher’. They blamed Jesus that He does not care about them. In Greek, the word ‘care’ means to be anxious, to be concerned. To care it means to be interested about someone, to feel concerned, to take responsibility about someone, to love, protect and provide for his needs. For example, parents care about their children. Often, God’s people feel that God does not care enough for them. At the root of it, this is a sign of unbelief!
For the disciples to complain that their Lord ‘does not care if they die’, they indirectly accused Him to be a hireling and not a true shepherd. Listen to what our Lord said: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep” (Jn 10:11-13). The hireling is an agent of the devil. He shepherds the sheep for money. When the wolf attacks, the hireling is not ready to protect the sheep with his life. He runs away. Jesus said that He is the Good Shepherd, and He gives His life for the sheep. To accuse the Lord that He does not care for them, the disciples accused Him to be a hypocrite, to be a devil. The Lord rebuked their lack of faith in Him, their Savior, who came from heaven to die for them, that they may live!
Sister Martha asked a similar question. Mary was ‘wasting time’ seated at the feet of Jesus and listening to His Word. Martha was busy in the kitchen, cooking and serving food to the guests. Tired of all that labor, she complained to the Lord saying that He ‘does not care’. Our Lord gently rebuked her saying that her labor makes her worried and troubled about many things. Our Lord also said that ‘only one thing is needed’. Mary was wiser than her. She has chosen ‘the good (or the better) part’. We need to work for our daily bread but to listen to God’s voice, to study the Word of God, will always be ‘the better part’ which is eternally ours (Lk 10:39-42)
Later Peter encouraged all believers to trust the Lord because He cares for us! “Casting all your cares
[all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all]
on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]” (1 Pet 5:7, AMP)
JESUS MUZZLES THE STORM
Jesus arose and rebuked the wind and the waves. He stopped the storm with a Word! The wind stopped immediately, like Christ switched it off. He said: “Peace, be still!” Immediately, the storm ceased and there was a great mysterious supernatural calm in the atmosphere. In Greek, the words spoken by our Lord: “Peace, be still” mean this: ‘Be silent! Be dumb! Be calm! Be muzzled!”. Jesus ‘muzzled’ the storm the way a dog is muzzled so that it cannot bark or bite anymore. The result was immediate. There was ‘a great calm’. This was a perfect storm that ended in a perfect peace. By stopping the storm, Jesus proved to be God, the Lord of Hosts, the Captain of the hosts of heaven. “O Lord God of hosts, Who is mighty like You, O Lord? Your faithfulness also surrounds You. You rule the raging of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them” (Ps 89:8, 9).
During the storm, the disciples were restless and confused because of fear. Jesus alone was calm and composed. This is a great lesson: your attitude during your ‘storm’ will determine the result. Praying with fear and praying with faith is totally different. Once peace reigned again, The Lord asked them: “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”. This was a gentle rebuke, but nevertheless, a rebuke. The boat became the classroom. The storm revealed that the disciples did not totally trust in Jesus. Their fears almost drowned their faith. They forgot God’s Word: “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Is 43:1-3)
There were some ‘little boats’ following the main boat. The disciples were so worried about their problems that they did not see that there was other ‘little boats’ around. They too were in the storm. They had the same problems, but Jesus was not in these boats. But after the storm was stopped by Jesus, they too shared in the victory. These little boats represent people who come to church, are friends with the Christians, but are not yet saved. I said: ‘yet’. For none can experience the power and grace of the Lord and remain the same! They are followers of Jesus but not converts! Yet! Let us pray for the people in these little boats, who are here in the church, right now! Let us pray for their salvation! Amen!
WHAT MANNER OF MAN IS JESUS? (Mk 4:41, KJ)
The disciples feared the storm and feared death. Now, a greater fear overcame them. It was the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom.
What are some of the lessons for us?
*The Lord Jesus Christ is the Sovereign God! Our Lord Jesus Christ is completely Man and completely God. He is the Creator of everything. He made the sea, and He alone can control it. “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (Jn 1:3). “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him” (Col 1:16). The Lord Jesus ‘has the power to bring everything under His control’ (Phil 3:21). The Lord gave authority to His disciples to heal diseases and deliver the oppressed, in His name. But Christ did not give them the authority over nature. During the storms of life, we must run to Jesus. He alone can stop the storm and bring peace once more! Our sufferings may come suddenly, but these never take Jesus by surprise. The Holy Spirit uses the storms of life to bring us closer to God, to purify and increase our faith, to wean us from the love of the world, and to make us spiritually mature. We now appreciate salvation and heaven like never before!
*The Lord Jesus Christ is the best example of how to behave during the storms of life. He went to sleep during the storm. Why? Because He completely trusted His Father. You need to learn to sleep like Jesus! Peter did it (Ac 12:6). Jesus knew that He and His disciples cannot die before the appointed time. He trusted that the Father would wake Him up when it is necessary for him to act. Most people cannot do that. They sleep, but they do not sleep well, because they are worried about things that can happen around them. They think that by worrying, they help themselves to live longer. They think it is their duty to remain alert in the night, just in case… But Jesus went to sleep in the shalom of God! ‘It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep’ (Ps 127:2). Do you sleep well?
*We should fear not! We should live by faith! Our Lord is in our boat! The symbol of the church is a boat on the water. Jesus is in the boat of our hearts, individually, and in the church as a congregation. Jesus said: “whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (Jn 11:26). At God’s appointed time, we shall ‘sleep’ in Christ, but we can never die! During the storm, the disciples feared death. After the storm they ‘feared exceedingly’ and said to one another: “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” They knew Jesus as their Teacher. Now they experienced Him as God, the Creator of heaven and earth, the Lord over every storm and the Ruler of all creation!
Jonah bowed to the storm! The storm bowed to Jesus! One in Christ, we died with Him, and we rose with Him!
*Cross over the storm before you arrive at greater success! It was the Lord that said to them: “Let us Cross over to the other side”. After an unforgettable night, they arrived at the region of the Gadarenes. It was a Gentile territory on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee. The Lord delivered a demon possessed man and was rejected from that area. These were more lessons for the disciples. Before a breakthrough in ministry, we may have to pass the test of faith in the storm. May God help us!
*We should fear God always! We should trust in Jesus Christ, always! Like Jonah discovered: “Salvation is of the Lord!”(Jonah 2:9). Jesus is Lord!
*Jesus cares! Yes! Even right now, in your suffering and weakness, Jesus cares! Jesus is Our Compassionate High Priest. He left heaven and lived among men, to know men. He knows the power of temptation, of the sin of grumbling, of unbelief. He suffered. But He conquered death and hell. Jesus became a man so that He can die for men. He is now in heaven interceding for me, and for you. He invites us to come boldly to meet with Him at His throne in heaven, that we may receive mercy and grace in time of need! Let us go to Jesus! Today! Right now! “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:14-16). I DECLARE TODAY: JESUS IS ENOUGH FOR ME! Worship the Lord!