The story of Jonah helps us understand how God thinks. It helps us see God’s great love for all of his creation and his will for all men and women of the world to be saved. The apostle Peter finally figured it out after a couple of rooftop visions in Joppa.
“Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” ~Acts 10:15
“God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.” ~Acts 10:28
“I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” ~Acts 10:34-35
We have enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan. And our God loves them and he wants them to be saved. But sometimes our language and our prayers and our actions and our emails don’t reflect it. How quickly we forget that while we were God’s enemies, Christ died for us.
We have enemies right here in our own communities. Enemies of our property values, enemies of our employment figures and tax rates, enemies of our comfort zones and our decency and order. And our God’s unmistakable call is to take to them the good news of salvation.
See, the deal with Jonah is that he believes in the sovereignty of God in his clear call. Jonah understands it. He just doesn’t want to obey it.
We believe that Jesus meant it when he said love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. But we don’t always practice it.
God is still calling his people to preach, to witness, to testify, on his behalf to other people. We see it with Jonah. We really see it in Jesus. Our Savior crosses all the social and political and cultural and racial and economic boundaries to save violent outcasts, those possessed by demons, warring zealots, traitorous tax collectors, Roman centurions, and thieves on crosses. He broke through the barriers of time and space to save you. And me.
And our God unmistably calls us to reach out to others the same way.