In our study this week Jonah finally goes to Nineveh.
Now history shows us that the Ninevites were really bad people who seem to be most well known for their use of torture to subdue other people groups. Jonah’s resistance to go preach to Nineveh was that Jonah did not want God to spare the Ninevites. In that, seems to understand something that we don’t; no one, no matter how far away from God they might seem, is out of God’s reach. Jonah was not scared that they would do something bad to him. He was scared that God would do something good to them. This makes more sense to us than we know in that it’s probably true that there are people in all of our lives who we have a hard time with and think will never come to know Jesus. There might even be people who we don’t want to come to know Jesus.
Eventually though, Jonah does go to Nineveh and preaches the exact message that God told him to preach; he simply delivers God’s mail. There is an important lesson in this for us in the church. For several years now the church has made a move away from simply speaking and preaching the good news about Jesus to just “showing” the gospel to people through the power of our transformed lives. The words of St. Francese have become the theme – “Preach the gospel always. If necessary, use words.” What we learn here from Jonah is this: You, and your life, are not the most important message that people need to receive about Jesus. The gospel is the most important message that people need to receive about Jesus. With apologies to St. Francis of Assisi, words are necessary. The power is not in your life. The power is in the gospel. It is also helpful to think about two different commands of Jesus. 1) Love your neighbor. 2) Go and make disciples. These are not mutually exclusive things. You don’t do one to the exclusion of the other. We are to do both at the same time.
So Jonah preaches the message and people of Nineveh repent. God worked through the message that he told Jonah to give in ways that Jonah could never have imagined; or ways that Jonah didn’t even want. God was working the whole time to bring the Ninevites to repentance. In the same way, God is working to bring those around us to know him and turn and be followers of Jesus. God is using us to do that and we just have to be obedient, deliver the mail that we are called to deliver and trust God for the outcome.
Band for the week was:
- John Enzor – bass
- Jake Taylor – guitar + vox
- Katie Pritchett – vox
- Brent Francese – drums
- Alex Dellapenta – guitar _ vox
- John Pritchett – guitar