A Tale of Two Missionaries
– Although it’s difficult to know whether the story of Jonah was in Luke’s mind when he wrote these concluding chapters, the sea voyage taken by Jonah provides a fascinating counterpoint to the sea voyage taken by Paul
I. Rebellion vs. Obedience
1) Jonah responded to God’s missionary call by disobedience and self-centredness
a. A downward spiritual progression
b. Boards a ship heading to Tarshish in the opposite direction of Nineveh
c. Jonah’s desire was to get as far away as possible from the heart of the Assyrian Empire!
2) Paul responded to God’s missionary call by obedience and self-sacrifice
a. He sacrifices personal prestige and comfort to reach out to the Gentiles
b. He endured unbelievable suffering
c. His desire was to bring the gospel to the centre of the Roman Empire!
II. Indifference vs. Action
1) Jonah’s presence on the ship places the crew in a perilous situation
a. God uses a storm and an animal to prevent Jonah from running away
b. Jonah is fast asleep while the sailors are frantically calling on their gods
c. Jonah would rather throw the pagans under the bus than ‘fess up!
2) Paul’s presence on the ship saves the crew from a perilous situation
a. Satan uses a storm and an animal to prevent Paul from arriving in Rome
b. Paul gives a prophetic warning
c. Paul is an active participant in this harrowing adventure at sea
- Granting divine reassurance
- Warning of an escape plot
- Feeding the passengers and crew
- Collecting firewood
- Healing the sick on Malta (with Dr. Luke’s assistance???)
III. Hatred vs. Love
1) Jonah hated his Assyrian enemies and wanted God’s wrath to consume them
2) Paul loved his enemies and wanted God’s grace to rescue them
a. He reaches out to his Jewish opponents first in spite of everything that has already happened
b. He is overjoyed at the prospect of reaching the Gentiles with the good news of Jesus Christ
Application Point: Write out your salvation story this week if you’ve never done it!
1) What kind of missionary are you?
2) What kind of history will you make as the gospel continues to go to the nations?