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Love is Self-Sacrifice

October 13, 2019

Scripture: Jonah 1:11-17

I. Love is self-giving.

A. In Jonah 1:11 the sailors ask Jonah for a solution to their problem of this storm that is threatening to kill them, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” Jonah knows exactly what to do. Jonah says in vs. 12, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” For the sailors to survive, Jonah’s life must be sacrificed.

B. Maybe Jonah is finally starting to think about someone else besides himself and what he wants. Notice in vs. 12 Jonah’s emphasis on the word you in his answer to the sailors. He is concerned for them. Perhaps Jonah was responding to the sailors’ question in vs. 11 about what they should do by saying, “You are dying for me, but I should be dying for you. I’m the one with whom God is angry. Throw me in.” So, Jonah gave himself away so that the sailors might live.

II. We can only be saved through Christ’s sacrificial love.

A. Jonah is a type of Jesus. Jonah’s story is a preview of what Jesus will do for us. Jonah’s offer to sacrifice himself for the sailors so that they might be saved physically is a picture and a sign of Jesus’ actual death to save us eternally. We know this is how Jesus read the story of Jonah. Matthew 12:41: The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.”

B. Jesus summarized His mission and the greatness of His sacrificial love in Mark 10:45: “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” God will always be angry about sin. This is why the Apostle Paul calls Jesus’ sacrifice a propitiation in Romans 3:23-25: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” To propitiate someone is to appease an angry person who has been offended. And what is it that appeases the wrath of God? The sacrifice of Jesus.

III. Love is about grace.

A. In the story of Jonah there are two people who receive grace – an undeserved and unearned gift. The first group of people to receive a loving gift of grace from God are the sailors. The sailors had been worshiping and praying to false gods. What does God do for people who don’t know Him? He reveals Himself to them. They in turn feared and worshiped God (vs. 16). Jonah had run away from God’s assignment to speak God’s message to some wicked pagans. But by the grace of God that is exactly what Jonah does anyway. God used Jonah to bring some pagans to repentance in spite of Jonah’s rebellious actions. And this was not the only gracious thing God did for Jonah. As soon as Jonah gets thrown overboard and hits the water, God saves him (vs. 17). Here was God being merciful again – saving His rebellious prophet Jonah.

Worship God for His love by sacrificing yourself in service to others.

The book of Jonah
Commentaries on Jonah by Desmond Alexander and Timothy Keller