Jonah isn’t your run of the mill kind of prophet. His story is so off the wall that it’s nearly unbelievable at moments. The book of Jonah is a true, pliable story of the Bible that is seemingly suspended in time and place for the sake of engaging the curiosity and belief of countless generations. It’s a story of faith and doubt, anger and sadness, judgment and mercy — and, of course, a big fish.
Unlike many prophets of the Bible, you look at Jonah and think, “You know what? That could be me.” We get angry when bad people don’t get what they deserve. We’re most comfortable with our way of seeing the world. We know what it’s like to run from discomfort towards ease. But “Jonah” isn’t primarily about Jonah — and it’s not primarily about us. It’s about the character of God and his unrelenting kindness. As we step into Jonah’s story, we’re also taking a deeper look at our own stories — and as we unpack what we find we’ll discover that God’s kindness isn’t just grand, it’s offensively so!
“Jonah wants a God of his own making, a God who smites the bad people, for instance, the wicked Ninevites, and blesses the good people, for instance, Jonah and his countrymen. When the real God — not Jonah’s counterfeit — keeps showing up, Jonah is thrown into fury or despair. Jonah finds the real God to be an enigma because he cannot reconcile the mercy of God with his justice.“— Tim Keller, Prodigal God
Like most prophets in the Bible, Jonah is trying to make sense of God’s mercy and justice. That’s why the book of Jonah is preoccupied with one question above all else: How can God be both merciful and just without one canceling the other out? We’re asking ourselves the same question as we step into this sermon series: The Offense of Mercy. Join us this fall as we explore this imminently practical book of the Bible…and yes, we’ll talk about the big fish.
- A Gracious and Compassionate God: Mission, Salvation and Spirituality in the Book of Jonah by Daniel C. Timmer
- Man Overboard! by Sinclair B. Ferguson