Often we look to Matthew and Luke’s gospels during the Christmas Season, as they beautifully and powerfully narrate the birth of Jesus and surrounding events. John’s gospel, on the contrary, may not seem very christmasy on the surface, as he does not narrate many of the events surrounding Jesus’ birth. Instead, John goes back to the beginning of time, to creation itself, for his readers to see and understand that Jesus is more than a man. He is Emmanuel, God with us.
The book of Jonah is full of contrast. The prophet Jonah runs from God, while everyone else in the book runs towards God; Jonah’s response to God has sharply contrasted the response of the pagan sailors and also the response of the wicked people of Nineveh. Here in chapter 4, we see the sharp contrast between the anger of Jonah and the compassion of God.
God is the God of second chances. He is relentless in his loving pursuit of the lost. In chapter 3 of Jonah, we see God’s patience and grace for disobedient Jonah, as well as for the people of Nineveh.
Jesus is the one and only hope for the brokenness of sin. In John 8:1-11 we read of the woman who was caught in the act of adultery, and we see how Jesus responds to this woman in the midst of her brokenness, shame, and need. Jesus, the only perfect and holy one without sin, capable of throwing the first stone, instead offers forgiveness, love, grace, and a changed life. He offers us that same hope today.
The holy person is not one who cannot sin. The holy person is one who will not sin.
– A.W. Tozer
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. – Isaiah 9:2
Grace is at the center of everything.