WHAT JESUS DID TO SAVE YOU by Pastor Shah, Clearview, Henderson

Many of us who are saved have never truly grasped the magnitude of suffering that our Savior went through on the cross for us. If we did, there would be a radical change in how we live. Many of you who are lost – if you truly understood how much Jesus suffered for you, you will respond to His love and be saved.

Running From God  (1)

Running From God (1)

Jonah 2:1-6 1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly. 2 And he said: “I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction, And He answered me. ‘Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice. 3 For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods surrounded me; All Your billows and Your waves passed over me. 4 Then I said, “I have been cast out of Your sight; Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’ 5 The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; The deep closed around me; Weeds were wrapped around my head. 6 I went down to the moorings of the mountains; The earth with its bars closed behind me forever; Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD, my God.

Overall Background: Anytime we study a biblical passage, we have to first look at it in its original and immediate context. In other words, we need to understand it as the people who first read it understood it. Then, we can take step back and look at it from the larger and fuller context. So far, we have seen what the life of Jonah teaches us from its original context. It teaches us to obey God, accept God’s discipline, and trust His faithfulness in our lives. Now we need to step back and see it from the larger context. What does the rest of the Bible say about Jonah? How does it fit into God’s plan of salvation?

Well, Jesus mentioned Jonah at least twice in His ministry. When the scribes and Pharisees came to test Him and demanded a sign from Him. Jesus said in Matthew 12:38-41 39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.

Jesus compared His death, burial, and resurrection to Jonah’s experience in the belly of the great fish. In a sense, if you want to understand how Jesus felt on the cross, read how Jonah felt inside the fish. This morning I want us to look at Jonah 2 and understand what Jesus went through on the cross for us. Is all this just to teach you something interesting and novel? No. It is help you realize how much Jesus suffered for us. If you are saved, this should motivate you to live a godly life. If you are lost, this should motivate you to get saved immediately.

3 important truths about the cross from the story of Jonah:


2:3 “For You cast me into the deep.”

Background: Jonah is saying “God – you threw me into the sea.” There’s a little problem there. In Jonah chapter 1 God sent a storm to discipline him (not punish him) because Jonah was running from God. Once the sailors figured out that Jonah was the cause of the storm, they asked him in verse 11 “…What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?” Jonah responded in verse 12“…Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you…” At first the sailors refused but then, as it became worse, they asked God’s forgiveness and then…1-2-3…tossed him overboard. So, is seems that Jonah suggested and the sailors implemented. But now Jonah says – “God – you threw me into the sea.” What’s that all about? Listen carefully—

-       It is true that the chief priests and the elders plotted against Jesus to kill Him.

-       It is true that Satan incited Judas to betray Jesus was 30 pieces of silver.

-       It is true that the crowd shouted crucify Him.

-       It is true that Pilate passed the sentence and then washed His hands.

-       It is true that the Roman soldiers brutally nailed Him to the cross.

But the cross was from start to finish the work of God.

-       Listen to Peter on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, 22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth…23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;

-       I Peter 1says, 18 “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things…19 but with the precious blood of Christ…20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world.

-       Revelation 13:8 calls Jesus “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

Albert Schweitzer said that the cross was Jesus being crushed under the “unyielding wheel of history.” Not true. Jesus said in John 10:18 “No one takes it (my life) from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.”

It is true that human beings crucified Jesus, the Son of God, in a cruel, heinous, and evil way. Nonetheless, it happened just as God intended for it to happen. The cross was not an atrocity. The cross was not an accident. The cross was not an afterthought. The cross was God’s answer to your sin and mine.

Application: What do you think about the cross? Jesus took your punishment upon Himself so you don’t have to suffer in Hell one day.


2 And he said: “I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction, And He answered me. ‘Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice. In his affliction Jonah cried out to God. The pressure was too much for him.

How about Jesus? So also Jesus, in His ultimate affliction, cried to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane. Luke 22:42-44 41 “…He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

That condition is called “Hemidrosis,” where a person is under such severe stress that the tiny capillaries in the sweat glands break and blood and sweat flow down together. Jesus was under extreme affliction because He knew what was coming. Jonah’s affliction was his own doing. Jesus’ affliction was because of our doing.

Back to Jonah 3 “For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods (Literally: river swirled about me) surrounded me; “All Your billows (breakers) and Your waves passed over me.” We know what that meant for Jonah – he was in belly of the fish and the fish was deep in the sea but inside the water was like a raging river. He was being tossed back and forth.

How about Jesus? On the night of the crucifixion Jesus was jerked back and forth.

  1. Arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane.
  2. Taken before Annas the ex-high priest and questioned.
  3. Taken before Caiaphas and condemned for blasphemy
  4. Taken before the Sanhedrin and condemned and beaten.
  5. Taken before Pilate and accused of treason
  6. Taken before Herod and mocked.
  7. Taken back to Pilate and scourged with 39 lashes. His back was probably in shreds.
  8. Then He had to march up the hill to Golgotha. He was bloody, bruised, dehydrated, and exhausted.
  9. Finally, He was nailed to the cross between two common criminals. The nails are not what you use to hang picture frames.
  10. But the worse was the sin of every human being put upon Him and God’s wrath was poured upon the Son. This spiritual suffering was the worst.

Back to Jonah 2 4 Then I said, “I have been cast out of Your sight; Jonah felt abandoned by God.

How about Jesus? Matthew 27   45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” As Jesus feels the emotional, physical, and spiritual suffering of the cross, He feels abandoned by His Father.

Back to Jonah 25 The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; The deep closed around me; Weeds were wrapped around my head. I find this interesting – Jonah had weeds wrapped around his head.

How about Jesus? John 19, 2 And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe.

Back to Jonah 2 6 I went down to the moorings of the mountains; Jonah is saying that he has gone as low as any human being could possibly go.

How about Jesus? For 3 hours Jesus hung on the cross for our sins. He went as low as possible for us.

Back to Jonah 2 6 “…The earth with its bars closed behind me forever.” Jonah felt like he has

How about Jesus? Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ ” Having said this, He breathed His last.

Let me clarify – Jonah was disciplined for his disobedience. Jesus was punished for our transgressions.

Application: Did you ever realize how much Jesus suffered for us? By the way, you and I have no right to tell anyone that they will go to heaven without Jesus Christ. It is as if saying – Jesus, you really didn’t have to go through all that.


Jonah 2, 6 Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD, my God…9 Salvation is of the Lord.10 So the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

How about Jesus? Listen again to Peter in Acts 2:24whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.

Praise God! Jesus did not remain in the grave. He came back to life on the third day. Why? Because He was God. He was sinless. He had finished the task of paying for our sins.

Why did I preach this message? Because it is Palm Sunday? No. Because it is Interesting? No. Because the cross demands a decision. Is Jesus your Savior?

For e.g. There was once an artist named Steinberg. He was using a young gypsy girl as a model for one of his paintings. Sometimes she would just come and watch him paint. One time Steinberg was painting his masterpiece “Christ on the Cross.” One day she said to him – “He must have been a very wicked man to be nailed to a cross like that.” Steinberg replied – “Oh no. Actually, He was a very good man. The best man who ever lived. He gave His life for others.” The gypsy girl asked him – “Did He die for you?” Steinberg stepped back and thought to himself – “I don’t even know the one I am painting.” He gave His heart to Christ. Why? He moved from the color, canvas, and palette and He moved into the story.

Have you ever moved into the story?



(First published in the newspaper Daily Dispatch, Henderson, on March 29, 2014)

It’s that time of the year when wedding announcements start appearing in the newspaper and invitations start arriving in the mail. I can’t help but think of the pastor who asked the children what God said about marriage. A little boy answered, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Isn’t that the truth?!! Frankly, I prefer funerals to weddings. They pay more and last longer! Okay, I’m exaggerating a little…but I wish couples would invest just as much in their marriage as they do in their wedding. Here are some questions to consider:

1. Do you understand God’s plan of oneness in marriage? Many couples just have the urge to merge. They claim to have body chemistry…that typically turns into toxic waste. God’s plan for marriage is that a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”(Gen. 2:24) That means being connected with your spouse in mind, body, and spirit. It is the opposite of isolation. Many marriages are just roommates living under the same roof. Nicole and I take time weekly to cultivate the oneness that God desires for us.

2. Do you know the role of the husband and wife? The husband is called to lead and the wife is called to follow. Sometimes I am tempted to ask the groom to take the ring out of his nose and put it on his bride’s finger! I’m not suggesting that “Bubba” should prop up his feet and demand his beer. To the contrary, the man should lead by serving his wife “just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” (Eph. 5:25) As to the wife, she shouldn’t belittle her husband but respect him. (Eph. 5:33) Don’t forget – the greatest desire of a husband is to be respected and the greatest desire of a wife is to make her husband happy.

3. Do you know how to fight? Anytime I hear a couple say – “We’ve never had an argument,” I think – “Very soon, one of you is going to get tired of giving in.” No marriage is without its share of conflicts. Remember to be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” (James 1:19) Avoid throwing ultimatums like “If it happens again…” or keeping grudges overnight. Take every conflict to God in prayer and allow Him to bring healing and maturity. By the way, some conflicts are just not worth it. As someone said, “A bulldog can whip a skunk any day, but it’s not worth it!”

4. Do you know the difference between an instructor and a photographer? Maybe you heard of the student pilot who was waiting for his lesson. A man jumped in the cockpit with him and said, “Let’s head towards those mountains to the south and then fly as low as you can over the lake.” The student took off and the man started taking pictures. After a while the student asked, “Do you always take pictures when you give flight lessons?” “Flight lessons? I’m just the photographer for the newspaper.” The student replied, “If you’re not the flight instructor, then you probably can’t tell me why these red lights are flashing. Can you?” So also in marriage, some people are just photographers. Be careful of their advice on marriage. Find godly, mature, and time-tested couples to help you navigate through the storms of life.

Well…I have more questions but my word count is up. Here’s just one more – “Do you have Jesus on the invitation list?” He is known to go to weddings and do miracles! He will take your ordinary life and make it extraordinary with His power. He did it for us.


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