March 15, 2010

An Innocent Man

Jonah 1:1-16

They took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm.
Jonah 1:15


You have to feel for the sailors on the ship with Jonah. They were terrified of losing their lives in the tempest, and Jonah told them that tossing him into the sea was the only way to quiet the storm—but they simply wouldn’t accept that. Jonah said it was his fault that they were all caught in this storm, but the sailors wanted nothing to do with killing an innocent man. So they tried everything they could think of to navigate back to land. But finally, after asking God to pardon them for what they were about to do, they threw Jonah overboard.

Just before Jesus was crucified there was someone else who wanted nothing to do with killing an innocent man. The wife of the Roman governor, Pilate, sent a warning to her husband as Jesus stood before him, on trial. She said, “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him” (Matthew 27:19).

Jonah was more guilty than the sailors realized. And Jesus was more innocent than Pilate’s wife or anyone else had ever dreamed (see Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22).

The man standing before Pilate was no criminal and no sinner. In fact, he was the Son of God, so he had infinite authority over Pilate. But Jesus had come to lay down his life for our sake. Trusting in him, the world’s most innocent man, will quiet all our storms.

Lord, we know that it is only by faith in you that the guilty are declared innocent. Thank you for your grace that forgives us and gives us new life. In your name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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