29 Mar 2017

Jonah, the Son of Jonah and the Gentile Mission

Author: Bobby Valentine | Filed under: Acts, Exegesis, Jonah, Mission

Every time I study Jonah I learn something new. Sometimes things are staring me in the face but I am slow that I miss them. So here in the Rocky Mountains we are going thru Jonah in Bible class and this week I have been tracing the “sign of Jonah.”

Luke “plays” with the “sign of Jonah.” Peter and Cornelius come together much like Jonah and the Ninevehites. Here are some interesting things to note that are both parallel and sequential in the story in Acts 10.1-11.18 indicating that Luke is “fishing” with the Jonah story to shape how he tells the Cornelius narrative in Acts of the Apostles. I am also grateful when my suspicions are confirmed by other students.

1) It is a delicious irony that the man commissioned to go to a goyim is the “son of Jonah.” Peter is the “son of Jonah.”

2) Joppa is in both stories (Jonah 1.13/Acts 9.43) and there is hesitancy on the part of both messengers to go

3) Jonah and the “son of Jonah‘s” reluctance to be God’s messenger is overcome only by divine intervention (fish/vision). Jonah is in the fish three days (1.17) and the “son of Jonah” is given the vision three times (Acts 10.16; 11.10)

4) The commission to both Jonah’s is verbally parallel, “arise and go” (“anastethi kai poreutheti“, Jonah 3.2, LXX; “anastas … kai poreuou, Acts 10.20)

5) the goyim “believed” (empisteuo/pisteuo, Jonah 3.5; Acts 10.43) in the word and were forgiven

6) the response of the goyim elicits a hostile response (Jonah 4.1; Acts 10.14; 11.2)

7) God responds to the hostility (Jonah 4.2-11; Acts 11.17-18)

It seems to me that Luke’s point here is that the God that sent Jonah and the God that sent Peter are the same God of Israel. He extends grace and mercy to “everyone who believes” just as “all the prophets testify” (Acts 10.43).

The God of Israel has sought to bless all nations through his people and Jesus is the ultimate representative of Israel to the nations. The Jewish Messiah is everyone’s Messiah!

Blessings … oh yeah the “Old Testament” matters

2 Responses to “Jonah, the Son of Jonah and the Gentile Mission”

  1. Steven Webb Says:

    I have always been struck by the command to go preach and looked at Jonahs commission and ours as Christians. I liked your take of Jonah and son of Jonah. Thanks.

  2. Dwight Says:

    Peter didn’t object to preaching to the lost, just the gentiles, after all Jesus restricted them initially from doing this and they were considered, unclean. Jonah’s reluctance wasn’t only because they were gentiles, but this was the capital of the nation that was persecuting them…Nineveh. But there are a lot of similarities.
    They exist today.
    We preach well in our assemblies, but no so much outside of them, because we think that they are not worthy of God or would not respond to God.
    It is about God’s mercy and grace that we either extend or keep to ourselves and not let anyone else in.

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