Jonah and the whale (or more accurately big fish) is a widely popular story. Little kids love the idea of a man living inside a whale for three days. Adults enjoy that story as well, but also gain extra meaning with the comparison of Jonah in the whale with Jesus in the grave. The account is highly popular.
As I was reading though Jonah recently, I took my time through the “big fish” section to see if I have missed something. Many times when we become familiar with the story we can miss some important details, so I made sure to read closely (I helped that I have to translate Jonah for a Hebrew Final). What I found interesting was Jonah’s prayer of thanksgiving to God. He thanks God for rescuing him. We know the story. Jonah was supposed to go to Nineveh, but instead disobeyed God by going in the complete opposite direction. On his way to Tarshish a storm arose, which results in Jonah being thrown overboard. This is where the big fish comes into play. The fish was God saving Jonah from certain death.
Here is the irony. Jonah disobeyed God’s will. He walked away from God’s way. However, he understood now that God had extended His grace to Him. That God had shown mercy to Him. The irony is Jonah did not want to recognize that God could do the same for someone else. He did not want to preach to Nineveh because he feared the nation might return to God and be rescued. His spiritual snobbery and arrogance is on full display.
Today, we can be Jonahs. We fully accept that God is gracious toward us. When we sin we are confident in His forgiveness (and we should be). However, we display an arrogance toward others. We feel as if others are not worthy of this same extension of grace. We act is if their sins cannot be forgiven. We must learn that God not only extends radical grace to me, but He is also extends that same grace to others! And on top of that we should do it as well.
Thank you for your grace. We do not fully understand how amazing it is to be rescued from our sins, but we are grateful. Forgive us Father when we act as if you cannot forgive others. Helps us Lord to recognize your grace extends to all.
Through Your Son,