“On Mission Part 2 – Jonah” Handout
“The Old Testament is an indispensable and irreplaceable base for the Church’s missionary task among the nations and peoples of the world.” ~Johannes Verkuyl
The Universal Theme – The “Great I am” of Exodus is the God of the whole world.
Acts 17:26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth;
Rescue and Liberation – The suffering of Jesus will be the Liberation of the people – He will rescue all humans – those who believe. It is not just a New Testament afterthought. It is seen throughout all Scripture.
The Missionary Theme – Israel’s prophets never got tired of reminding the people that their election was not a privilege which they would keep for themselves, but rather a call to service.
Isaiah 49:6 “…I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
THE BOOK OF JONAH – The book presents a story of a missionary who had no heart for a Gentile people and one who like the later Pharisees could not tolerate a God who would show mercy toward non-Jews.
Scene one: 1:1-3 1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
- Presents Jonah receiving God’s commands to go to Nineveh.
Scene two: 1:3 Jonah flees – 3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.
Scene three: Jonah inside a large fish (1:17) – 17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
- Jonah cannot escape God’s missionary mandate.
Scene four: inside the belly of the fish 2:1-10 Jonah prays from the belly of the fish.
“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.
- God rescued Jonah and though “covered with seaweeds he was nonetheless a testimony that God takes no delight in the death of sinners and saboteurs but rather rejoices in their conversion
Scene five (3:1-4) Jonah now ready to obey God
3 Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh.
Scene Six: 3:5-10 Jonah’s message is received
5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
- As Martin Luther who loved to preach from the book of Jonah says; “the left hand of God’s wrath is replaced by His right hand of blessing and freedom.”
Scene seven: 4:1-4 – But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry.
- Jonah is furious because God has extended His mercy beyond the borders of Israel to the Gentiles. Jonah cannot stand to think of the Gentiles as part of salvation history.
Scene eight (4:5-11)
- The book ends with an unsettling question which is never answered. God reached his goal with Nineveh, but what about Jonah? No one knows! Does this show that the question of obedience for Israel and the church is still an open one!
THE POINT: I must obey God’s calling as though missions depends on me, and pray as though it depends on God’s power.
Why is Missions important?
- God’s grace and mercy is for all people. (2) Yahweh is Creator of all. (3) God is equally gracious and compassionate. (4) God has no favorites. (5) Like Jonah God is calling us to reach our fellow Gentiles. (6) As members of the body of Christ, we must pay close attention to the message of Jonahs book. (7) Jonah is the father of all those Christians who desire the benefits and blessings of election but refuse its responsibility.