I am hurried this a.m., as I was told we will be attending the first service! However, my read through Matthew continues to stir my heart regarding the nature of Christ and His reflection of the God of Israel.
He demonstrates a nature quite different than our own, communicating at times contrary to what contemporary communication experts might prescribe. Parables that require men and women to dig deeply and in fact struggle to even understand His message.
There is something about the human struggle that seems necessary if we are to truly be in dialogue with the Spirit. Easy outs, in this case a request for a sign, doesn’t seem to be the nature of God. Given that God is love, I would think that has more to do with our need than His desire to be difficult?
As well, I am caught up this morning with the huge investment that God often makes in people who do struggle, even with God. In Matthew 13-15, conversation touchs several times on the ‘sign of Jonah.” Now there is a man I can relate too!
He obviously was called to minister to a city, though at times frustrated, even at one point refusing his call, but God has a way. Yet, instead of rejecting this obstinate prophet, God lovingly disciplines him and then provides a way for the initial call to move forward, though the man Jonah, comes kicking and screaming. I am sure things would have been easier had he just been obedient.
The amazing thing is that in the midst of Jonah’s tirades, God is working a huge message that will be paramount in introducing the Christ many centuries later. What appears to the surface reader as simply a means of rescue, Jonah’s three nights in the belly of a fish, is a demonstration of the keeping power of an omnipotent God and His power over death and the grave!
The character of Jonah, even his rebellion was demonstrative of the crucifixion that would later come to this God who would become flesh, be crucified and buried in the belly of the earth, only to have death spew Him up from the grave,in three days!
The scriptures are filled with such mysterious revelation if only one will pursue its treasure. For those who choose an easier route, the sign of Jonah, a story now degraded to a mythical tale about disobedience and a whale, may be all they get!