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Summary: A different look at the story of Jonah and the whale as compared to Jesus and the Tomb.

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“Three Days and Three Nights Later”

"For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Matthew 12:40 (KJV)

Intro: I am and have always been more of a morning person than a night owl. There is beauty in both watching the Sun set. And beauty in watching the Sun rise.

I’m not saying anything against those of you who like to sleep in late.

I don't always like getting up in the morning…, but I like mornings themselves.

Mornings are a time that are so full of promise.

Mornings are crisp and clean and new.

The old day has ended and new day is beginning.

It doesn't matter what happened yesterday.

We might have made a dozen mistakes.

But this new day can be a time of starting afresh.

It is also the time when darkness becomes light.

The dark is turned into dawn and the light of the new day comes in.

The brightness of that light hits us…, in a way…, like no other time.

Today we are going to talk about Three Days and Three Nights.

We are going to start with the old testament book of Jonah. But this Ain’t No Fish Story!

Most of us can probably remember “Jonah and the Whale” from Sunday School and VBS days, and even now that we are all grown up, we may still put it into the same category as Fairy Tale or just a children’s story.

But Jonah was a real person…, and his story is real and true.

Jesus Christ himself talks about Jonah’s experience with the fish…,

not as a parable but as a real person and a real event.

When you take a closer look at the book of Jonah in the Old Testament

We find only 4 chapters and with only 48 verses total in the whole book of Jonah.

You can sit down and read the entire book in about 5 minutes.

But we could talk for days about God’s purpose for Jonah and God’s compassion for the People of Nineveh.

And the Gospel of Matthew compares the Three days and Three nights that Jonah was in the belly of the whale, to the three days and three nights that Jesus was in the grave.

"For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Matthew 12:40 (KJV)

Let’s look at one of the lessons we can learn from the book of Jonah.

I. The Message is Less about Jonah running from God and More about God’s persistence with Jonah.

“ But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD” Jonah 1:3

Somehow that is the verse that always seems to stand out when people remember the story of Jonah.

Jonah was running from God… Jonah was fleeing to Tarshish. Jonah was trying to get away from the Lord.

O.K. We all can identify with running away from God.

Everyone at sometime falls into one of these three categories…

You are either about to run away from God…,

Or You are running away from God in the present…,

Or you just came…, from running away from God…, but now you are with the Lord.

It is easy to identify with running from God

Fearing for their lives…, the desperate sailors…, started throwing the cargo overboard…, to lighten the ship. Jonah was sound asleep…, below deck…, in the hull of the ship.

So the captain went down after Jonah. How can you sleep at a time like this? he shouted.

They start questioning Jonah "Who are you? What is your line of work?

What country are you from? What is your nationality?"

Finally Jonah told them…, I’m running away from the LORD.

The sailors were terrified when they heard this..., "why are you doing that?"

These sailors didn’t even worship the same god Jonah worshipped

but they knew it was wrong to run away from God.

It is easy to see the human nature…, is to think that somehow…,

If I can just put enough distance between me and Nineveh…, God will leave me alone…,

God will choose someone else to do his work and I can go set in the shade at Tarshish and drink my lemon aide.

But I am thankful for the people who teach Sunday School

I am thankful for the people who work with the children

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Danny Brightwell

commented on Jun 24, 2014

A great lesson. Thank you for sharing it.

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