August 29 I Sunday
1 Corinthians 10:19-33
“The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before Me.’ But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa…” —Jonah 1:1-3
Peter grew up his whole life with a religious set of Jewish beliefs that were entrenched deep in his thinking, and God reshaped that set of beliefs through the events in Acts 10. God gave a vision to Peter not only to challenge his perspective towards Gentiles, but to reveal to him that the cross of Jesus Christ has removed the dividing wall of hostility that ceremonial divisions created. The Gentiles that were outside of the covenant relationship that Israel enjoyed had now been brought near through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
It is useful when we read through the Word to note locations where events take place and then to look at other parts of the Bible where those locations and names are also mentioned. When Peter received the vision from God, he was living in the city of Joppa. This city is also mentioned in the Old Testament story of Jonah. When we study the Gospels, we will find that Peter’s name is actually, “Simon son of Jonah.” Peter grew up as the son of a fisherman and was a fisherman by trade. Could the story of Peter and Cornelius, and the story of Jonah and the big fish possibly be a beautiful parallel?
Many of us are familiar with the story of Jonah and the big fish. Jonah was called to go and preach to the Ninevites, a pagan people whom he viewed as unclean and undeserving of God’s grace and compassion. In his distaste for the Ninevites, Jonah went in the opposite direction, all the way to Joppa and got on a boat there. While on the boat, a huge storm broke out, and Jonah was thrown overboard and swallowed by a big fish. For three days and three nights, Jonah was in the belly of a fish crying out to God. On the third day, the fish vomited Jonah on a beach. Afterwards, God told Jonah to go and preach to the Ninevites, and Jonah obeyed. Jonah is a story of bias and racism, and a story of obedience to God, even when we do not fully understand what God is doing.
What the story of Jonah reveals to us is that it was always in God’s heart to reconcile all people to Himself and to one another. Just as God met Jonah and required him to go where he did not want to go, God also met with Peter, making him go where he did not want to go.
Where are we reluctant to go and reach the lost for Jesus?
Prayer: Sovereign God, I confess of moments in my life when I was reluctant to go and share the good news of Jesus Christ to others. Help me recognize that the gospel is for all people and compel my heart to share this message with others. Thank You, God.