This book has been much appreciated by many of us who came to know of God and Jesus through Scripture classes or Sunday School and in many other ways.
Jonah is portrayed as a man who knows his scripture, who is given a job to do by God and he runs away. God sends a huge fish and Jonah is kept alive to again be called to go to the big city of his people’s enemies, the Assyrian city called Nineveh, to tell them about God. When Jonah does as God instructs him the people repent and believe in God. Wow!
Some context: Seen as a book of the prophet whose name it bears, it is strikingly different to other prophetic biblical books as a narrative of the actions of those involved. Here we get a chance to see the role of the Old Testament prophet in some detail although he is the only one who runs away from the charge God has given him. There is humour, satire and parody here as well as a strong message.
Can I encourage you to read Jonah through again seeing a little more as the Spirit shows you? However you come to Jonah this time – Enjoy?
Acts 21:37 – 23:11
These are significant model passages for us as witnesses for Christ. Here Paul, on a number of occasions is bold in taking opportunities to speak about Christ. Confident in the faith he holds in Christ and bold enough to speak truthfully about the message of Jesus’ resurrection.
As Paul recounts his conversion on the roadside, he speaks openly of the role Jesus has in that conversion and the following directions to spread the faith through speaking about Christ. Not just to the Hebrews but to the Greeks and other Gentiles.
Paul’s audiences, the crowd in the street, who, before the Roman Commander arrived were beating him, and a second in the Sanhedrin, were so disturbed and upset that they had begun to so threaten him that Paul was removed to safety. Again.
Then in chapter 23 verse 11, God stands at his side and not only encourages him to “. . . take courage . . . “ but also gives him a new mission.
Ephesians 6: 10 – 18 (NIVUK) has some instruction about how we can take our courage and the culminating words have this instruction:
16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
A prayer – Dear Lord and Father, may we too go unashamed into the world each day in those normal places and with normal people with the courage written of in Acts that we have seen Paul exhibit. Guide and equip us to serve You through appropriate mission, that glorifies You as Lord and Father. We ask this through your Son our Lord Jesus and your Holy Spirit. Amen.