Summary: Jonah makes a plea, Take me up....get me out of here, his solution to the terrible mess he made. This is true for today’s throwaway society. Yet, Jesus prayed similarly, "Take me up,", but He pled for our forgivness as He offered Himself.
PLEADING PASSENGER/PURCHASED PARDON
I. PERSONAL PLEA:
II. PETULANT PLEA:
III. PROTOTYPICAL PLEA:
In answer to the sailors’ question as to what they should do with Jonah, his classic answer is, “Throw me overboard.” At first glance, this might seem like a logical answer to the question but on further study, this is not the real intent of Jonah, but a pretext for an admission of what he did to all concern on board this ship. If he really felt that way, he could just have easily jumped overboard and saved the rest of the situation. Instead of being willing to go first, I feel that he couched his response in pleas that maybe were not really what he wanted.
His pleas for them to toss him overboard were a mixture of part wanting to end everything and part of a plea for their consideration. Previously he stated his firm belief in the God of the universe and then when the sailors asked him some pointed questions, he was willing to put his beliefs aside and continue with his waywardness. He could have repented on board that ship then and spared everybody’s trouble if he really believed in what he was now saying. However, he did not fully repent then but continued to go his stubborn way. Yet the pleas that he uttered are interesting to say the least and while he said his pleas to them then, regardless of the true intent of his heart, his words, his plea of “Take me up…’” are to be viewed with his situation. A similar plea was uttered by a Messiah who said centuries later, “Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit,” vis-à-vis, “Take me up.”
As I study this verse of Jonah, I see three things about these pleas. The first two pleas relate directly to Jonah; however, the third plea relates to Christ and His plea not only upon the cross for Himself, but for sinners like Jonah and like me.
The first plea relates to Jonah’s PERSONAL PLEA. This sets the stage for the second cry: his PETULANT PLEA. Christ made the last plea centuries later and I term this plea as the perfect, PROTOTYPICAL PLEA.
Taken together, these pleas form a better picture of the heart of Jonah and reveal the true heart of Christ as He gave His plea for Himself and for us on the cruel cross.
I. PERSONAL PLEA: Jonah’s plea, “Take me up…” was first a personal request. This plea sounds as if it is sincere yet, I have to wonder just how much of this was meant from a genuine request or how much of it was a mere pretense in his hope to buy time so the sailors would not do as he requested. No one may ever completely know the truth. Yet, in this petition, I see three things that make me wonder about his true heart’s cry.
The first part of his entreaty I think was earnest. He was very Perceptive to the situation at hand and I think he finally realized just what his rebellion had done to innocent people. Why is it that often the innocent people have to pay for someone’s rebellion? I am speaking about those people who have heard the gospel story and have refused to follow it. I think of the many children who have to suffer because dad or mom refuses to follow God. I think of the many spouses that have to suffer because their mates refuse to follow the dictates of Christ. I also wonder about the ones who may have been reached by obedient people following Christ, but some have rebelled and walked away from the truth found in Christ and as a result, they have made others suffer from not hearing about Christ, due to their escaping their responsibility.
As Jonah stood there that day and told the sailors to “Take him up…,” I honestly think that he finally understood the real consequences to his actions. However, the old saying is still true, “Too little/too late.”
Besides Jonah coming to grips with his rebellion, I think his supplication to the sailors was a very Pathetic plea. Now that he realized the true gravity of the situation he had brought to innocent people, his solution was, “Hey, I am out of here and good luck to you people as you try to cope with the situation.” Sure, it meant instant death if he were to be cast overboard, or so he thought, but death would be better than to stay around and watch others trying to rectify the terrible situation he created.
Again, I have to go back to the fact that so many people who have heard the gospel story and have rebelled, offer up a very feeble solution to the problem they have generated by simply running away. How many innocent children and spouses have to stay and pick up the pieces of someone in the family who simply say, “Hey, I am out of here-take care of the mess I made?” The story of Jonah is an old story, and often repeated through out history. People who could have done so much for Christ and their families and have rebelled have done so much damage to innocent people and the only solution they have to solve the mess they created is simply to run. It really does not matter to where they may run or to the consequences of their running, the only help they can offer is to give a Pathetic note of, “Take me up, get me out of here, let me go; I cannot bear to stay and try to help anyone else resolve the mess I made. I am just too self-centered for this task.” This was Jonah’s solution to the situation he brought to innocent people.