From the Pulpit February 10 2018

The story of Jonah is a great metaphor about a God of second chances. Jonah did not want to do what God instructed and warn the Ninevites to change their ways or be destroyed. The Ninevites were one of Israel’s greatest enemies, and known for their cruelty, so Jonah preferred God destroy them.

Jonah ran away and boarded a boat. When the storms raged, the crew believed the storms were because of Jonah and tossed him overboard, and then a huge fish swallowed Jonah. For three days, Jonah was in the fish, and praying for rescue. Then the fish spit Jonah out on the shore.

Jonah returned to do what God originally told him to do. He went into Nineveh and told them that they had to change their ways or God would destroy them. To Jonah’s surprise, the Ninevites listened and changed their ways. Jonah was really upset now, because he knew God would have mercy and not destroy his enemies.

JONAH did not understand why God would give the Ninevites a second chance – when they didn’t ask for one, nor deserve one.

He also didn’t recognize that he, himself, had received the same grace when God gave him a second chance after running away, and when Jonah didn’t ask for one either.

There are several people given a second chance to do what God called them to do:

Moses killed a man; God called Moses to lead the       Children of Israel out of bondage.

Peter denied Jesus three times; God used Peter at             Pentecost.

Paul tortured and executed those who followed    Jesus; Paul was transformed on the Road to      Damascus; God called Paul to be the Apostle to the      Gentiles.

We walk with a God of second chances, grace, and            mercy. One who forgives us even when we fail to             ask for forgiveness, and one who continues to call   and use those who return to him. That is Good News.