As we see in the witness of the early church in Acts 4, spreading God’s mercy happens when the church is rooted in unity and living out “resurrection life” with great power. Spreading God’s mercy ultimately connects people to Christ by meeting people’s physical and spiritual needs.
Followers of Jesus are given abilities, talents and experiences that are intended to be used for God’s great purposes of making a positive difference in the world. Our challenge is to discover the unique ways we can live out the Lord’s purposes for our life.
In the story of Pentecost and through Peter’s passionate message, we can see what happens when a person is fully “gripped by the Gospel”. When we share the power of God in our own lives, we guide all ages into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
The call of Christ comes to all kinds of people of every background to share “God’s deeds of power” and welcomes them to join the Jesus revolution.
This year, more than any other, we are learning how much we need to “connect to Christ” and to each other. In the early church, we can see the impact of the Holy Spirit’s work when we pursue these types of connections.
The essence of the God we worship is compassion to God’s children. God’s compassion is not just abstract but real and generous.
Jonah knew that God is compassionate and merciful and yet this prophet concluded that this same love should not be extended to others who are not from his nation. Many times our prejudice, nationalism and racism blinds us from understanding others.
The Ninevites, upon hearing Jonah’s message, turned from their wicked ways and repent-ed, and God was merciful towards them. We, like Jonah, have a responsibility to share God’s message with others, even if they are our “enemies.”
When Jonah hits “rock bottom,” God sends mercy in the form of a fish. Jonah is rescued, and we see that Jonah thanks God, respects God’s discipline, and worships God. As believers, we can do the same when we find ourselves in need of rescue.
As Jonah disobeys the will of the Lord and tries to run away from Nineveh he experiences the consequences of the storm. As the pagan sailors are caught up in the same boat, they show the self-absorbed prophet of Yahweh how to treat people who are radically different.