Summary: The world wanted to know – Who Jonah was? Who did he belong to? What was he doing? What was he doing to them? Why was he sleeping at the worst time? Like Jonah, the world watches the believer and wants to know the same thing.


JONAH 1:1-17

Then they said to him, “Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us?

What is your occupation? And where do you come from?

What is your country? And of what people are you?”

Jonah’s ministry took place in the 8th century B.C. – sometime between 780 and 755 B.C. He is referenced in 2 Kings 14 as predicting the expansion of Israel’s territory during the reign of Jeroboam II. During his tenure as prophet, Jonah clearly had been a prophet of respect and stature. God sends him on a mission, a mission he does not want from which he runs bringing near disaster to all those around him and causing them to want to know – Who was he? Who did he belong to? What was he doing? What was he doing to them? Why was he sleeping at the worst time? Like Jonah, the world watches the believer and wants to know the same thing.

I. Who are you?

A. Jonah was supposed to be a holy and caring prophet of God. But those sailors around him do not see anything about him to identify him as God’s prophet.

B. They asked him, “Who are you?” – “Identify yourself!”

C. In his sermon, “We All Need Roots,” William P. Tuck tells of a man who stepped onto the platform at an American Legion Convention. As he looked over the large crowd, he asked, “Can anybody tell me who I am?” He had lost his memory, with no record of his past or his identity. His desperate appeal was: “Does anybody know who I am?”

D. Acts 19:13-15 “Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches." Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”

E. As born-again Christians we need to identify ourselves completely through our relationship with Jesus: it is the identity of Jesus that determines our identity.

F. Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

G. Do people identify you as a child of God?

H. The dilemma of an unclear sense of personal identity was illustrated by an incident in the life of the famous German philosopher Schleiermacher, who did much to shape the progress of modern thought. The story is told that one day as an old man he was sitting alone on a bench in a city park. A policeman thinking that he was a vagrant came over and shook him and asked, “Who are you?” Schleiermacher replied sadly, “I wish I knew.”

I. 1 John 3:2 “Beloved, now we are children of God…”

J. John Warnock, or Clarence Joyce Jr., or Wayne Hutchings -- or whoever he is -- was jailed in Ottawa, Canada, in June 1999, for using a stolen credit card, but criminal charges against him were soon dropped -- because figuring out his real identity proved too difficult. After his arrest police found identification on him ranging from drivers’ licenses to hospital cards with 10 different names with addresses from as far off as Australia and England. Various birth dates made him as young as 42 and as old as 50. Apparently, the mystery man has played his game of deception for so long that even he doesn’t really know who he is anymore!--for, when stopped by police and asked for identification, he supplied them with two cards with different names. Prosecutors said that, in order to prove that "Mister X" had actually been using stolen cards, they would have had to show proof that he was not actually any of the people named on the cards. That would have meant flying in witnesses from all around the world to testify that he was not the person whose name was on the cards. You, too, may think that you can fool the entire world about your ’real’ identity, and pretend before others to be something you’re not. Realize that God knows and discerns the "real you"!

II. Who do you belong to?

A. They asked Jonah not only who he was but to whom did he belong? What country do you come from? What sets you apart from others?

B. Jonah explained that he was a Hebrew – a term that was used to distinguish them as a class of people distinct from all the other people groups in the same area around them.

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