Summary: This book is about God's great love for everyone and about man's stubborn refusal to participate with God in loving others.
Well, we have been looking at children's stories. Stories we've just kind of always known. In fact, what we do with our 0- to 4-year-olds here is we have a curriculum called Bible Biggies where we tell them all the big stories of the Scripture so they can be aware of those stories. Way too often, we let these stories just be little children's stories.
It's really funny when you think about some of these JP has done such a great job of talking about. It's really funny that we would tell some of these stories to kids before we go to bed. Think about this last one we're going to look at this morning, the story of Jonah. "Hey, here is a guy who is a prophet of God, a servant of God, a man who walked with God, who knew God. One day, he didn't listen to him, and so God swallowed him up by a monster fish. He left him in that thing for three days. The fish spit him up so he'd start to listen to God.
Let's pray to that God, sweetie. You can go to bed and decide if you want to listen to Mom and Dad tomorrow. Before we close, I want to remind you Ephesians 6:4 says, 'Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.' I don't know. I think you're going to be okay as you sleep, but just remember, that's your God. Goodnight." Children's stories.
Well, what about this one? This is one you kind of stumble on. You go, "Really? I mean, come on. Really?" It wasn't long ago… I knew I was going to do Jonah. I was flying in a plane. So I had Jonah out and I was reading it. The guy next to me goes, "Really?" I go, "Excuse me?" He goes, "Really? You read that stuff?" I go, "Yes sir, I do."
He goes, "You believe all those little myths in there? Like if this plane was going to go down, you'd really find comfort in that." I go, "Well, not just if the plane went down." He goes, "People walking on water, feeding multitudes out of loaves and fishes, people raised from the dead. Are you kidding me?" I go, "Sir, I do. I believe those things really happened."
He goes, "Okay. How about Jonah?" Don't they love to run to Jonah? He said, "How about Jonah? You believe a guy was swallowed by a whale, lived in his belly for three days, and was spit out?" I said, "Look, that is a tough one. I guess, I suppose when I get to heaven I'll ask him about it." The guy goes, "Oh yeah? Well, what are you going to do if Jonah is not in heaven?" I said, "Well, then you can ask him." No, no I didn't.
This is one of those stories you kind of look at, and you just kind of go, "Really? Is this what God wants me to believe?" Let me just take it up a notch. Let me just say I don't necessarily believe the whale swallowed Jonah and he lived in his belly for three days. It wouldn't shock me if he was swallowed in the belly of a whale, he was dead, and God decided to resuscitate that dead body and spit him up.
Our Old Testament has some other resuscitations in it. It wouldn't bother me if Jonah was dead in the belly of the fish. You go, "Okay, well Todd, why aren't the gastric juices going to work, and why isn't he completely dissolved? Do you really believe if a whale was going to swallow a human he wouldn't chew him up?"
Well first of all, there are two classes of whales. There are some with teeth and some that are called baleen whales. Baleen whales don't actually chew their food; they don't even have teeth. They just run krill and other small animals through this structure that is called baleen. Let me just say it is not out of the realm of possibility that a whale could, in fact, swallow a human. Let me just walk you through a few things.
Let me just say one other deal. This is really not a question of genre. In other words, is Jonah historical narrative or is it allegory? Is it parable? Jesus, by the way, used both to teach eternal truths. So even if we found out that it was allegory and parable, it wouldn't necessarily mean the resurrection is allegory and parable.
I, though, am of the opinion that this is a real story. It did happen historically. People go, "There is no other record in human history of this happening." I go, "Well look, we're going to celebrate something next weekend that there is no other record in human history of that happening."