Sunday, July 19, 2015

This week's lesson (July 18-24): the Jonah saga

Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors 
-- Matthew 6:12, KJV

There are some people you don't want to be saved.

Not if you're like Jonah, at any rate.

Called to preach in Nineveh, Jonah refuses -- and it is only after two miracles that you learn the reason why:
  • The first miracle: Jonah is saved from the drowning he deserves.
  • The second miracle: Nineveh is saved from the destruction it deserves.
  • And yes, it's that second miracle that's the problem!
When God saves Nineveh, you see, Jonah reveals the reason why he never wanted to go there:
[For] I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. -- Jonah 4:2, NIV
Jonah wanted Nineveh to burn, in other words; he wanted its people to be lost. In fact, Jonah would literally rather die -- literally! -- than give Nineveh a chance to be saved.

The biggest barrier to evangelism, in other words, isn't always distance, language, or the beliefs of the people we're trying to reach.

No, sometimes the biggest barrier to evangelism is the way we feel about the people we're trying to reach.

Just like Jonah, after all, there may be some people we don't want to be saved.

And just like Jonah, we may need some saving ourselves.

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