The podcast can be found here.
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.
"Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say-- `Father, save me from this hour'? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again." The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him." Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.
Boudreaux was stopped by a game warden in
South Louisiana recently with two ice chests of fish, leaving a bayou well known for its fishing. The game warden asked Boudreax, “Do you have a license to catch those fish?” “Naw, ma fren, I ain’t got none of dem, no. Dese here are my pet fish.” “Pet fish?” “Ya. Avery night I take dese here fish down to de bayou and let dem swim around for a while. Den I whistle and dey jump rat back inta dis here ice chest and I take dem home.”
“That’s a bunch of hooey! Fish can’t do that!” Boudreaux looked at the game warden for a moment and then said, “It’s de truth ma’ fren. I’ll show you. It really works.” “Okay, I’ve GOT to see this!” Boudreaux poured the fish into the bayou and stood and waited. After several minutes, the game warden turned to him and said, “Well?” “Well, what?” Said Boudreaux. “When are you going to call them back?” “Call who back?” “The FISH!” “What fish?”
The Bible has several very good fishing stories in it. There is the miraculous catch of fish with the disciples.. there is the time that Peter caught the fish with the coin in its mouth… there’s the whole loaves and fish miracle.. and even the creation chronology when on the fifth day God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures” and the fish were created. But the biggest fish story in scripture is the one of Jonah and the whale.. it’s a story that you hear as a kid in Sunday school, but after that it gets pushed to the side for what some would probably consider to be more intellectual teachings.. but still it is there that I want to begin.
Jonah had been called on by the Lord to go to
and to preach against the people for their wickedness, but Jonah did not want to. He was very well aware of the wickedness of Nineveh and he would rather see the Lord destroy them as opposed to saving them. So, instead of going to Nineveh , he fled. Finally coming to the coast where he caught a boat in hopes of sailing away. However, due to his disobedience they Lord caused a great storm. All aboard were afraid for their lives and when the discovered that Jonah’s disobedience was the cause of the storm, they through him overboard. Enter the big fish who swallowed up Jonah.. and scripture says that Jonah remained in the belly of the fish for three days, after which it vomited him up onto dry land. Nineveh
Jonah got the point and went to
. The city was large.. 120,000 people living there and taking three days to walk from one edge of the city to the other. His message from God to the people was simple, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”… What happened next was exactly what Jonah feared – the people repented of their wickedness and God relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had promised…. The people were saved, but Jonah went away angry and pouting. He wanted all 120,000 of them to get their due, but as the Sovereign Lord declares to Ezekiel, “I take no pleasure in the death of anyone... Repent and live!” Nineveh
What is interesting is that God did not ask Jonah for his opinion of
nor did he ask Jonah to go to the great city. The Lord didn’t say, “Jonah – buddy – if its not asking too much and if you feel like it.. and by the way I’ll really make it worth your while.. would you go to Nineveh .. and you know.. tell them to get their act together.” No. The Lord said in the first verse of Jonah, “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it..” The Lord had a divine purpose for Jonah and the Lord was not concerned with whether or not Jonah wanted to participate in it or endure it or like it or even be happy about it… Why? Because that divine purpose was not about what Jonah wanted… It was about what God wanted. Jonah’s responsibility was limited to the submitting to and fulfillment of that purpose. Nineveh
I was reminded of this story of Jonah after reading our Gospel … Jesus has made his triumphant entry into
… Some Greeks are in the city and they want to meet this man they have heard so much about, but Jesus knows that his time is short… The days of meeting and teaching are over.. his hour has come and he says, "Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say-- `Father, save me from this hour'?... YES.. let’s catch the next boat out of this two bit town and go to.. Jerusalem .”… Is that how it went? No… Jesus said, “it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.” Hawaii
Like Jonah.. Jesus had a divine purpose – that purpose was the salvation of souls. Where Jonah was to preach God’s judgment to 120,000 so that they might repent, Jesus was to die.. for the salvation of the world. But unlike Jonah, Jesus submitted to his Father’s will without complaint. The suffering that Jesus was to endure was not anything to be happy about, it was going to be painful spiritually, emotionally, and physically, but there was no anger in Jesus.. no pouting.. no running away… He was being obedient to the suffering to come, so that the world would be saved.. and so that the name of God would be glorified.
Jesus had a divine purpose… Jonah had a divine purpose…. You.. have a divine purpose. Do you know what it is? I’ll tell you… it is the same as Jesus’ and Jonah’s.. your divine purpose is to be obedient to God and to glorify His Name. Like Jesus and Jonah the fulfillment of that purpose might not be easy.. it might not be something you enjoy or even want to do.. it may involve suffering and even death.. but we must remember that the divine purpose we have been assigned is not about us.. its about God.
Yet.. it is in the fulfillment of that purpose that we may find ourselves repeating the words of Jesus, "Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say-- `Father, save me from this hour'?”… How you answer is up to you. It is truly your choice… You can say, “No.” You can try running away.. hiding.. complaining.. pouting.. “O woe is me!”.. but like Jonah, in the end, you will fulfill God’s purpose. Or you can say, “Yes.”.. you can submit and be obedient to God’s will and bring glory to His Name.
There are times in our lives that things are spinning out of control.. Like with Jonah the world may seem to be nothing but a storm.. and we find ourselves with him in the belly of the beast… but instead of becoming bitter and angry with God and go off pouting.. take into consideration that this storm.. what you are enduring.. might just be your divine purpose… Through that trial you, by being obedient and submitting to God.. You can bring glory to Our Father’s Name.
If in the midst of that storm.. and your obedient submission you find yourself afraid.. that’s OK.. even Jesus was distressed to the point of sweating blood.. but it is at those fearful times that we should remember the words of Jonah’s song.. the song he sang while he was in the belly of the beast… Let us close with those words as our prayer…
“In my distress I called to the LORD,
and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.
You hurled me into the depths,
into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
swept over me.
I said, ‘I have been banished
from your sight;
yet I will look again
toward your holy temple.’
The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you, LORD my God,
brought my life up from the pit.
“When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you, LORD,
and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple.