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Summary: Jonah teaches us God’s love for people and His desire to share His forgiveness with them. Like Jonah, God has called us to arise and go to the world with the Good News about salvation through Jesus.



How many of you grew up in the church? If you remember any stories from Sunday school as a child, the top three were most likely David slaying Goliath, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, and Jonah in the Whale. However – are these stories real? And if so, what relevance do they have to us, beyond making great flannel graph stories or Veggie Tales movies?


“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.” (Matthew 12:40-41).

• Jonah was a real person, who actually spent three days in a whale. This is a true story!

• “Great fish” = Greek ketos (kay-tos) = a sea monster, whale, great fish.

• Jonah was the only OT prophet sent to preach to Gentiles (the Assyrians).

• “Jonah is different from the other prophetical books in that it has no prophecy that contains a message; the story is the message.” (Spirit-Filled Life Study Bible).

THE BIG IDEA: Jonah teaches us that God loves all people and desires to share His forgiveness with them. Like Jonah, God has called us to arise and go to the world with the Good News about salvation through Jesus.


“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” (Jonah 1:1-2).

• God had a specific call for the prophet Jonah – to arise and go to Nineveh.

• And although Jonah is a true historical story, it has a lesson for our lives today as well:

• God has called all of us as Christians to arise and go, too!

• “And Jesus said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15-16).

• Examples:

• “Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise and go…” (Acts 8:26).

• “So Saul, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go… and you will be told what you must do.” (Acts 9:6).

• Arise = get up! Stop being a couch potato and do something! And GO…

• What is the Lord calling you to arise and go to do??


“But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” (Jonah 1:3).

• Jonah knew exactly what the Lord wanted him to do, but he refused.

• By disobeying the Lord, he was going “from the presence of the Lord.”

• It’s true that God never leaves us, but sometimes we can leave the Lord.


“But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.” (Jonah 1:4).

• Last week we learned that sometimes we experience storms even when we obey God.

• However, sometimes we go through storms because we are disobeying God.

• PERSONAL STORY: When God called me to fast, but I didn’t, all the troubles…

• “And have you entirely forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you, his children? He said, "My child, don’t ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don’t be discouraged when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes those he accepts as his children.” (Heb. 12:5-6, NLT).

• It was because of God’s love for Jonah that He pursued him with the storm.


“Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep. So the captain came to him, and said to him, "What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.” (Jonah 1:5-6).

• Instead of arising to go, Jonah was sleeping. An unbeliever had to tell Jonah to “Arise!”

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