Bible Readings for Wednesday, May 4th, 2011 – The 2nd Week of Easter
*Click on each bible passage to expand the text.1. When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
2. Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel his dominion.
3. The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back.
4. The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs.
5. Why is it, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you turn back?
6. O mountains, that you skip like rams? O hills, like lambs?
7. Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the God of Jacob,
8. who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water.1. Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish,
2. saying, “I called to the LORD out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.
3. You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me.
4. Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight; how shall I look again upon your holy temple?’
5. The waters closed in over me; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped around my head
6. at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the Pit, O LORD my God.
7. As my life was ebbing away, I remembered the LORD; and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.
8. Those who worship vain idols forsake their true loyalty.
9. But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Deliverance belongs to the LORD!”
10. Then the LORD spoke to the fish, and it spewed Jonah out upon the dry land.38. Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.”
39. But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.
40. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth.
41. The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here!
42. The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here!
- The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back. – Psalm 114:3
- “But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Deliverance belongs to the LORD!” – Jonah 2:9
- But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” – Matthew 12:39
The Sign of Jonah.
Essentially, the Sign of Jonah is someone who, to all appearances, is dead for 3 days and then is alive again.
How do you think it would go over today?
Our tale of the modern sign of Jonah begins at the opulent offices of one of Wall Street’s most infamous corporate raiders, Nintz, Nehser, & Vahr.
Just days ago, the firm lost its visionary founder, Brian Nintz, a man renowned for his ruthless hostile takeovers and the incredible accumen with which he would dispatch the assets of the newly aquired companies. He was affectionately called, “Gekko”, around the office.
It’s early Monday morning, when a newly minted vice-president (one of 12), named Chuck, raced into the newly minted CEO’s office. Chuck is extremely animated and excited.
“John! Holy shit! Did you hear about Nintz?”, Chuck blurted.
John stopped mid-sip, surprised,”Uh, yeah, Chuck. I was just at the hospital when he passed. I was at the Gekko’s goddamned funeral! What do you mean,’ did I hear’?”
Chuck gulped breathlessly, “Well, uh, he’s back.”
John’s eyes narrowed, “What do mean ‘back‘?”
John Nehser was a helluva raider, legendary even. He could make Harvard MBA’s mess their shorts if they pissed him off.
“He’s, uh…”, Chuck stumbled, and suddenly he regretted even mentioning Nintz, “…he’s… I mean… I heard from Susan, who, uh, heard from Nintz’s wife.. that, uh… he’s back. Like, from the dead.”
“From the dead? What do you mean, they buried him alive??” John’s face was noticeably paler at the thought.
“Uh, no… he was pretty dead. Susan said he was embalmed and everything.”
“What, then? What was it?!?” John bellowed, “You had better not be bullshitting me, Chuck. I swear to God, I am not in the mood to be made a fool of today.”
“I’m not bullshitting you, I s-swear, John,” Chuck stammered, “I’m just telling you what I heard happened!”
Susan, senior VP, suddenly burst through the doorway, and shoved a startled Chuck out of the way.
“It’s on the goddamn news!” Susans announced, matter-of-fact-ly. She swiped the remote from John’s coffee table and punched the power button for the plasma TV. The face of a local news anchor quickly appeared. Susan turned the sound up to full.
John noticed the entire staff on his floor was gathering outside the glass walls of his office, pressing against the glass and straining to hear. Everyone looked a little shocked.
“… astounded to report that legendary Wall Street raider, Brian Nintz, who’s death was reported right here on News First 5 three days ago, has reportedly been seen alive. Witnesses claim he was spotted walking away from the Phillips Creek Cemetery, covered in dirt and disoriented. He reportedly asked to use a bystander’s cell phone and then hailed a cab. Philips Creek has confirmed that, in fact, Mr. Nintz’s burial site has been disturbed and the body is missing. We have not been able to gather any more reports of Mr. Nintz’s current whereabouts, the confirmation of his identity, or where this cab might be now…”
John looked grave, “When, when did this happen?”
“About an hour ago,”Chuck answered,”It seriously just happened.”
John suddenly stood from behind his desk, his chair careening back and clanging off the window behind him,”But what happened, Chuck?? What the fuck is going on?”
Chuck raised his arms defensively and began to back out of the doorway, “Hey, John, I don’t know, man. I’m just the messenger. I don’t know.”
John looked pale which made Chuck look even more so because John Nehser never looked pale.
“What the fuck,” John pondered aloud, at a loss.
“Yeah,” Chuck agreed, relieved,”yeah, really…”
“Brian was my best friend,” John wasn’t even looking at Chuck any longer. He was looking past him, eyes out of focus, as if lost in memory.
“Uh, John?” Chuck interrupted.
“Susan says he’s coming here.”
Susan swallowed hard, “I just spoke with Nintz, John. He called me.”
“You spoke with him? You’re sure??”
“I’ve worked with Nintz for 20 years, John. It was him. Trust me, it’s crazy I know, but it’s true.” Susan admitted.
“Jesus,” John whispered.
Susan continued, “Nintz got a cab, called his wife, and then he called me. He said he’s coming here, John. He said he needs to talk to us about something.”
“Brian is coming here?? And he wants to talk to us??” John reached back for his chair, fumbled for it without looking, and pulled it forward awkwardly. He collapsed into it like an exhausted boxer, late in the fight, “What does this mean?”
He brought his hands to his face, rubbed his forehead, and took a deep contemplative breath to steady himself.
Suddenly, Susan realized the television had changed from the steady shot of the local anchor to an aerial shot if a building’s exterior. Susan sucked in her breath sharply.
“Holy shit!” Chuck exclaimed.
John looked up, already weary, “What? What is it?”
Susan spun around, her face suddenly shifting from pale fear to bright red fury, “Who did it!?! Who the fuck did it? Which one of you sneaky little bastards did it??”
She stalked toward the office door. The gathered staff suddenly seemed disinterested in the events of John’s office and began to turn away quickly.
“What? Did what?” John begged, lost, “Chuck, what’s going on?”
“The plasma, John. Look,” Chuck offered.
John looked at the shot of the building. He choked in shock.
His building. Here.
The TV now showed a yellow cab pulling up to the curb outside, a crowd of onlookers and reporters were teeming on the sidewalk, anxiously awaiting the door to open. Camera’s and microphones thrust forth from desperate hands, a sea of bodies and tense faces jostling for position.
“… we now cut live to our news crew who is on-scene outside of the offices of Nintz, Nehser, & Vahr, where we are hearing confirmation that the passenger of the cab we’ve been following off an anonymous tip is, in fact, Brian Nintz…”
“God help us,” John exclaimed, “this is going to be a circus!”
“What do you want me to do, John,” Chuck asked, motionless.
John paused, at a loss, and then suddenly snapped into action, “Get down there, Chuck! Get down there and get him… it… whatever the hell it is in here.”
Chuck looked nauseous, “Me?”
“Yes, goddamnit, YOU! GO!”
As Chuck hurried from the office, John’s gaze drifted back to the television. John could not believe what he was seeing. Live on television, his recently dead best friend of 30 years was struggling through the crowd of press, disheveled, pale and filthy, his once luxurious suit matted with leaked fluids and mud. Brian Nintz looked terrified, but definitely, clearly alive.
“…’Mr. Nintz! Mr. Nintz! What happened?? How are you here? WHY are you here?’…”
“…’I was sent with a message…’”
“…’Who sent you? What is the message?’…”
John had an idea of what the message might be, and it numbed his very soul to think of.
I was sent with a message.
John suddenly lurched down and bent frantically under the desk, his hands groping for the trash can. He slipped from his chair and fell forward onto his knees. His body convulsed as choking sobs and moans began to escape from his lips.
He was lost. He was scared. He was terrified.
He vomited into the trash can.
I was sent with a message.