“Sin is not a victim-less crime.” Now that’s an attention getter but that’s the statement made right after Brother Josh was talking about Jonah. Jonah was awakened by the mariners. They said, “Why did you do this to us?” That’s paraphrased but it’s there in Jonah 1:10 for the correct wording. Call me a little slow but it hadn’t occurred to me that these sea-worthy men were suffering for another’s sin. For me, that was a revelation. They were suffering a lot more than Jonah because he was fast asleep.
This wasn’t the beginning of last Sunday’s sermon. The opening was about the storm before the calm. Usually it’s stated in the reverse but Jonah’s story begins with a storm. Of course by the time of the storm Jonah has turned tail and headed as far west as he can get. Running from God must be pretty exhausting. Jonah was sure exhausted from it because he went to sleep. Sleeping is significant. It’s a way to escape problems and Jonah had created a lulu of one.
As our pastor pointed out, these mariners were seasoned veterans of the seas. They had to be or they wouldn’t be sailing ships to the farthest reaches of the known world. Sailors have reputations for correctly predicting weather. This storm they were dealing with was like nothing they had ever had. They had tried everything known to them to save their ship and passengers. Nothing had worked and now they were down to praying to their gods. Isn’t that the way it goes? When all else fails, it’s time to turn to God. That’s exactly what these mariners did. Jonah? He’s asleep.
When the mariners wake Jonah up, he realizes that he’s the cause of the storm. He tells them that his God is the God of heaven, the maker of the sea and dry land. He tells them to throw him off the ship and their problems will be solved. Even then the mariners are reluctant to throw Jonah to his death and they row harder. In the end, though, they toss him off the ship and the seas are calmed.
Sin really isn’t a victim-less crime. Innocent people are hurt by the actions of the sinner. And the sinner in this story dulled himself to his actions (he slept) until someone pointed it out to him.