Lent 8.1: I Want To

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Luke 11.29-32

My son Gareth (who’s 3 years plus) has this book I read to him last night (or every other night). It’s called “I Don’t Want to”. It’s about this boy Jonah (and his dog) that doesn’t want to go and preach to the people in Nineveh lands up in the squishy and phewy fish belly and then learnt to “obey”. But there’s more to the story of Jonah then learning to obey.

Here Jesus takes the “sign of Jonah” to show that God’s heartbeat for each generation especially when times are “evil”, he says “What happens to me will be a sign that God has sent me, the Son of Man, to these people.” People are looking for another “miraculous sign” (Jesus had been doing quite a few already, how many miracles do we need?) But Jesus’ sign is not about putting on a show on demand. The ultimate sign of Jesus is shown by his journey to the Cross and demonstrating God’s heart is “I Want to give you a second chance” and through Christ you can have this chance to not self-destruct in judgement and the evils of this world. It’s the way to new life where “Repentance”. Not a guilt no-hope word but a grace U-turn word from all that breaks our relationship with God and others. When we hear that God’s “I Want to” is more about giving us a chance to change our direction rather than a no more chance condemnation, the Spirit warms our cold hearts to say to God that “We want to” as well. First, we want to be responsive to Christ in our own life choices. Second, we want to move beyond ourselves to his call on us for others. We don’t have to land up in a squishy and phewy fish belly for that to happen. Or maybe we need to.

Action: Get a few friends and read the whole book of Jonah in one sitting aloud and share what you “hear” God saying to you.

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