Five Quick Lessons on Mission from Jonah
- God loves the hard places and the hard people. It was inconceivable that God would send Jonah to Nineveh. Tullian Tchividjian writes, “It’s safe to say that no people in the span of biblical history had a worse reputation for brutality and arrogance than the Assyrians.” But that’s where God sent Jonah. He continues to send his people to hard places and people today.
- We’re resistant to go. Half the book about Jonah is about Jonah’s unwillingness to participate in God’s mission. This is the continuing story of God’s people. Lloyd John Ogilvie said, “To know Jonah is to love him. And the reason we love him is because he is so much like us.”
- Before God uses us, he often breaks us. God has a habit of using washed-up prophets and disciples who have become keenly aware of God’s grace because of their own need for grace. Before Jonah preached in Nineveh, he himself was brought to repentance. Tchividjian says, “God uses defeated people to do dominant things.”
- Our message requires boldness. Go into a brutal city like Nineveh and warn them of God’s judgment? Good luck with that. Apart from God’s saving grace, the proclamation of the gospel makes no human sense.
- The book leaves us hanging: Do we care? The book of Jonah doesn’t resolve. It is in some ways unfinished, forcing us to confront our own response. Do we care more about the temporal things (like the plant) or do we care about what matters most to God? Jonah leaves us wrestling with the alignment of our heart with God’s.