The last sermon on Proverbs looked at wisdom and wealth, and we learned that ultimately, our wealth is not ours; it is a gift from God, and we are to steward it on his behalf. In this sermon we will look in more detail as to how we can discharge our stewardship of God’s wealth with wisdom.
In the Bible, God often uses the picture of shepherds and sheep to describe His leaders and His people; only the picture isn’t pretty! Left to ourselves, we frequently neglect, abuse, and take advantage of one another. We need a Savior who is both the perfect Shepherd and the perfect Sheep: Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who is the Good Shepherd.
Though the people in Zechariah’s day had been set free from Babylon, they were still enslaved to sin. They needed a second, greater exodus through a second, greater Mediator: Jesus the Messiah. Even as believers who have trusted in the Messiah in our day, we continue to fall into patterns of sin that bind us. We need to daily rediscover the grace of the Gospel that liberates us from not only sin’s ultimate penalty, but its remaining power.
There seems to be a bit of irony in the book of Jonah. In chapter 1, it is the pagan sailors, not Jonah, who show us what true fear of the Lord looks like. In chapter 3, the wicked, violent Ninevites believe God and turn from their sins after what may have been a very short message from a prophet with a checkered past. In our New Testament reading, Jesus points out the irony of the fact that the Jewish people, who saw themselves as more receptive to God’s Word than people like the Ninevites, do not believe Jesus and turn from their sins, even though Jesus is an infinitely more faithful and competent prophet than Jonah, which he will ultimately demonstrate by fulfilling the sign of Jonah in more miraculous way.