Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Jonah - Rev Brant Butler
As we have moved through this series on dirty, rotten, scoundrels or better known as folks just like you and me, I have made connections so we can see the commonality we share. But today’s text is different; I don’t even have to tell you that Jonah’s story is our story. We hear it for ourselves in every word! Jonah’s story is so familiar to us. God calls Jonah to go to Nineveh to give them an opportunity to change and be saved. What does Jonah do? He goes in exactly the opposite direction. Does that sound familiar?
God sends a storm to blow Jonah back in the right direction and Jonah finds himself overboard and then spends 3 lovely days inside a big fish thinking about his actions. When Jonah arrives on shore, he goes to Nineveh and preaches the shortest and least heart felt sermon in the history of preaching: 40 days more and Nineveh will be overthrown. Jonah doesn’t even mention the word, repent. There is absolutely no good news in Jonah’s sermon, but he seriously underestimated divine. Nineveh repents and God forgives the King, the people and even the cattle and that is where our story today begins.
This is not a children’s story; this is our story and if you don’t believe that, then you don’t know where Nineveh is located. Nineveh is smack dab in the middle of Iraq and I suspect we too would have trouble bringing a message of hope to our enemies there. The power of Jonah’s story is how it forces us to remember that God is always willing to do what we will not do. Jonah’s story reminds us that we worship a gracious God, a merciful God, and a God who is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. We worship a God who is not just willing, but WILL forgive those we deem unacceptable. Like it or not, we worship a God who will go to extreme lengths to gather all his people even when we don’t like it and we threaten to take our ball and go home. We worship a God who calls us as the body of Christ to do the same