You don’t grow up in the church, as I have, without knowing, memorizing, and internalizing the story of Jonah. From the time I was old enough to do Sunday School, all through Vacation Bible School, Children’s Church, and on through sermon series, books, teen discussions, etc, I have heard Jonah’s life dissected in every which way.
Jonah is the preacher’s favorite “don’t-rebel-or-you-will-face-God’s-wrath” text. But often, in our desire to zing the rebel, we miss the very heart of the story of Jonah.
This is why I was so wonderfully captivated by the majestic presentation of the book of Jonah by one of my favorite pastors and authors, Tullian Tchividjian. Tchividjian approaches the story Jonah from the perspective of the Gospel, seeing Jesus on every one of its pages.
The real message in this short prophetic book is not about how angry God is when we rebel, but how merciful God is to pursue rebels and to extend grace to the most heathen. God’s grace isn’t just big enough for self-righteous God-followers like Jonah, but it’s also big enough for the most despicable of peoples.
Pastor Tullian uses the Gospel as your guide, walking the reader through every aspect of Jonah’s epic life story, leaving no stone unturned. He adds color by tracing history’s rendering of this story, both in literature and in art. The book reprints some of the most famous Jonah paintings and sculptures.
This is easily one of the best books I’ve read all year. I highly recommend it. If you want your faith to be challenged, you’re grace expanded, and you’re appreciation of the gospel to grow, pick up Surprised by Grace. Then, pass it on to a friend.