This Sunday we come to the fourth chapter and final act of Jonah’s story. It drips with irony and hypocrisy. Jonah has had a heaping dose of the grace and mercy of His God who is slow to anger and abounds in steadfast love, and still he doesn’t wish it upon his worst enemy, Nineveh.
Jonah’s cluelessness about the log in his eye reminds me of a parable Jesus told. Take a moment to let this story sink in.
The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.
(A talent was a monetary unit worth about 20 years’ wages for a laborer! I’ll let you do the math. 20 x 10,000!)
And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.”
And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii…
(A denarius was a single day’s wage for a laborer. Again, I’ll let you do the math. 100 x 1.)
…and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, “Pay what you owe.”
So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.”
He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place.
Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” (Matthew 18:23-35)
Mercy received should be mercy extended. Our natural selves are not inclined in this direction, but thanks be to God for His Spirit who alone is able to kill hostility (Ephesians 2:16).
This Sunday Erik Thoennes will be preaching Jonah chapter 4 and Kenny Clark will be leading our sung worship. Would you pray for each as they prepare? And let’s ask the Lord to kill hostility that may remain in us. We have been shown profound mercy and grace. May the Lord make us conduits of the same mercy and grace.
And join us again in the evening at 6pm for our baptism service and family time.
See you Sunday, Grace. Come hungry!
SONG OF THE WEEK
Thy Mercy, My God recorded by the Worship Initiative feat. Davy Flowers
Thy mercy, my God, is the theme of my song
The joy of my heart. and the boast of my tongue
Thy free grace alone, from the first to the last
Hath won my affections, and bound my soul fast