In today’s day and age, it doesn’t take much flipping through the news to discover that the world’s gone mad. Daily, we’re bombarded with messages of terrorism, scandals, sex-changes, and the like. It’s enough to drive any sane person off the deep end. But, what’s more out of this world is that there have been cultures in the past that have been through this before. One city in particular that is similar to today was called Nineveh. It was a place of importance in the Assyrian empire. During the Assyrian empire’s heights, Nineveh was one of the capitol cities and one of the greatest cities in the entire world. Unfortunately, the city was also defined by it’s rampant idolatry and immorality.
Jonah was the prophet of the day that was called by God to reach out to Nineveh, but Jonah had other plans. Instead of acting out on God’s call to bring repentance to a hurting land, Jonah ran. According to the book of Jonah, while he was at sea, a great fish swallowed Jonah. After 3 days and 3 nights inside the belly of the beast, Jonah cried out to God in repentance himself. After being vomited out onto dry land, Jonah immediately headed towards Nineveh. He preached there about God’s coming judgement upon the land, and the people repented. In many ways, Jonah is like most Christians today. Here’s why…
We’re called to share the Gospel.
In scripture, we read that the word of the Lord came to Jonah and that he was told to go to Nineveh and call out against their evil ways. Similarly, we too are called to go and call out, but in a different way. After the resurrection, in the Great Commission, Jesus told his followers to go into the world and make disciples. He told his followers to share the Gospel. A short while later, moments before his ascension, Jesus tells his followers that they’d be given the Holy Spirit in order for them to be his witnesses. If you’re a believer in Jesus, you too are called to share the Gospel. We’re called to go out and call out against sin, to share the good news of Jesus. This calling isn’t optional. It’s mandatory. It might have took getting swallowed by a great fish, but Jonah finally understood that he didn’t have a choice. Learn from Jonah: a calling isn’t optional.
Instead of answering the call, we usually run.
Jonah received his calling, and he immediately had other plans. God wanted him to go to Nineveh, but instead Jonah headed towards Tarshish. Jonah fled for his own selfish reasons. Likewise, today we often flee in these times. God’s given everyone a calling to go into the world and share the Gospel. We are told continuously throughout scripture to not only share what Christ has done, but how he’s worked in our lives. We’re commanded to share the Gospel and share our testimonies. But, when the opportunity presents itself to do just that, how many of us actually overcome our fears and act out on this calling? I know many who flee just like Jonah. The world today is in rough shape. We’re not in need of more Christians who flee from their calling to share Jesus. In this day and age filled with idolatry, immorality, and impurity, the world needs genuine Christ followers who will stop at nothing to see that the love of Jesus is shared with the entire world.
God uses the broken.
What’s cool is that even after Jonah’s refusal to act and his outright disobedience, God continued to use Jonah. Jonah ran, God had a great fish swallow him up. Jonah reluctantly preached with a bad attitude, and God used his words. We too are broken people. We’ve sinned. We’ve all fallen short. Yet, God continues to use us for his glory. Sure, we’re not perfect, but we’re exactly who God wants to use for his purposes. Don’t use your brokenness as an excuse not to act. Jonah was broken, and God used him. God can use you to.
Too often, I find myself comparing the sinful world of today with communities such as Nineveh. Sin is everywhere, but God put on flesh to take care of it. He died on the cross to pay for our sins in full, and he was raised from the dead in order that we might have life, and have it abundantly. This Gospel, must be shared with the world in order to bring repentance and healing to a broken land. Want to change the world? Stop running from God, and start sharing Jesus.
Thoughts? Leave a comment below!