Jonah’s “Unfinished” EndingWritten by 9th Avenue Church of Christ on Dec 18, 2016 in - No Comments
A. Jonah 4 is one of the most intriguing parts of this famous account. Jonah preaches to the wicked city of Nineveh and they repent, and Jonah is upset and angry about it! He wants them destroyed.
B. In the chapter, God tries to work on Jonah’s heart, just as the message of God had worked on the hearts of Nineveh. But Jonah is terribly angry and bitter.
C. The question God asks that ends the book is powerful, but provides a strange ending to this book (Jonah 4:10-11). The book feels unfinished, because there is no answer given to the question, but it is not unfinished. The “hanging” question is the point! And it is a point we need to continue to grasp in our own lives.
A. The Temptation
1. Jonah’s major character flaw was that he could not grasp that God’s grace would forgive these enemies of his; these pagans in Nineveh. He flees out of fear, but also out of anger (see Jonah 4:2).
2. When God brought the plant to take of Jonah, though, that was quite alright!
3. If we are not careful, we can be similarly tempted. We give up a great deal to be followers of God and we expect Him to take care of us. But are we really supposed to care for those who are wicked, even those who are against Christianity? Will God really forgive “those” people?
4. The temptation can be to believe that, because we have borne some burden to serve God that we have earned His protection, and other people can just fend for themselves.
B. The Solution
1. The solution is found in that intriguing question that ends the book of Jonah. It is remembering that every individual on earth is made in God’s image and that He has pity and mercy for each and every one of them (and that includes you and me).
2. We were enemies of His in our sin (Romans 5:10), but He still sent His Son.
3. All have sinned, and God is no respecter of persons. So, no matter what a person has done or is doing, our responsibility is to seek to share the Gospel with each person.
A. Do we really believe that “the Gospel is for all?” Or do we believe that the Gospel is for all who are already like me?
B. As the song asks, “When will we realize that people need the Lord?”
C. The book of Jonah is not unfinished, but many of us are unfinished! We must continue to chip away at prejudice and pride and share the truth with everyone.