Text: Jonah 4:1-11, Romans 5:1-21
We left Jonah at the end of chapter 4, throwing a childlike tantrum in response to God’s extravagant mercy on a city full of eye-gouging sinners — the same extravagant mercy Jonah himself received from inside the gut of a fish.
The Bible tells us in Romans 1:16 (and many other places) that Jesus Christ came to save the Jew and the Gentile – everyone – and that there is no distinction. But do you ever find yourself, like Jonah, subscribing to a gospel of entitlement?
Or maybe God’s tender mercy toward anyone He chooses sits quite comfortably with you. But when we realize that our calling is to love others in that same undiscriminating way, are we ever tempted toward a members-only mentality?
We are not entitled to God’s love. Not because of our nationality, not because of our upbringing or our bank accounts, or marital status, or charitable giving or geography, or our care for the widows and orphans, or even how well we can pull off a top bun and bright lipstick.
We are all entitled to death.
Whoa. That felt harsh. But it’s truth (Romans 6:23). I believe we can never even begin to grasp the depth of God’s grace if we do not first attempt to grasp the depth of our need.
And in His great mercy, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for you. And me. And for Jonah. And the people of Nineveh. And all of the unlovables – Christ LOVES the unlovables. We are all the unlovables.
If we walk away from our study of God in the book of Jonah with one thing, you guys, know this: God’s mercy is far-reaching. It is deep and wide and for you. Know that He will pursue you in your self-made messes with storms that seem treacherous, but His love will compel you to leap overboard into the sea of your Savior’s arms. And in a prison of merciful guts, He will make you His. He will make you new.
His mercy is that much. Thanks be to God.
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”