Loving God and your neighbor….. part 3
Something a little fishy!
Mark 1:17 “And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.”
The disciples were not asking “What would Jesus do?” they were doing what Jesus did. ‘come ye after me’ means to do the exact same thing I do and it will catch the attention of mankind. People will be as Paul describes “compelled” by the Gospel of Christ.
While people, generally speaking, having not the desire to be a disciple, debate whether Jonah was delivered up in a fish or a whale to the people of Nineveh they miss the fact that Jonah was to deliver the word of God to a nation. Nineveh was full of people (the Philistines) that did not know the truth of the Word of God.
Jonah, our reluctant hero, having been tossed from the boat is wet and highly unlikely to have a papyrus scroll survive in the waters. Even if he had the deluxe deer pelt leather bound edition, there is a very slim chance he was clutching it when the boat was tossed around as it is far more likely he would have been groping for a rope tied to the boat. This means Jonah had to have studied and committed these verses to memory in order to deliver them to the people of Nineveh.
God knew exactly what he was doing when choosing Jonah, an Apostle, as he was one who has been trained for this mission. The mission? To tell Gentiles, yes Gentiles, about the grace and mercy of God. Wait a minute this is the Old Testament. Yes, and this is point number two: Jonah was used by God to foreshadow the grace and mercy God would bring to all the world through Jesus Christ. Jonah’s mission was to illustrate the three days Jesus would be in the grave for the redemption of all the world.
Lastly, they miss the fact that the people of Nineveh followed a false god named Dagon who claimed deity based on having been birthed of the sky as a merman to be the dew of the earth and the creator of agriculture and fertility. This is the same belief in later civilizations as Triton, Poseidon, and Neptune, as well as today’s culture, as Aqua-man in the comics. Dagon has many other names in history to include Nommo, Oannes, Glaucas, with titles like “Lord of Canaan” and “Father of Ba’al”
This tells the reader that God designed a VERY specific message of redemption for the people of Nineveh. God knew these people had been told a lie, from Satan, in which the creator of the world was a fish-god. God then sent His messenger Jonah inside a fish to get their attention. Providing the people of Nineveh with the truth in love, going the extra step to meet them where they are intellectually, even amidst their delusion.
This should have been another message to the Philistines concerning their beliefs in a false god. Apparently the fall of Goliath, occurring in or around 930 B.C., wasn’t enough to get their attention. The events of Jonah mission happens in 760 B.C. showing us the relentless pursuit of God to pour out his grace and mercy to his creation.
Are you ready to get back to the classroom? Are you ready to become a disciple? God is ready to use you to reach a nation with His message, what would you have for them? Because Jonah was a disciplined student the Bible tells us:
“The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands.Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”
“When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.”
WOW! People were saved from the wrath of God because Jonah had delivered the word. How many more can be saved by the word of the Lord and who will deliver it?
Will it be you?