What happens in Jonah Chapter 3 is what most Christians long to see. Widespread heartfelt turning away from evil and turning to God. The people of Nineveh, on hearing God’s message, repented as one – from the king down. The whole population. How we long to see such things happen in our time – for people to be transformed by God’s gracious intervention.
Two things came together in Nineveh. Firstly, God’s message was proclaimed. The reluctant prophet finally did his job. And when God’s explosive message was released it impacted the whole city. There have been times when the message of the good news of Jesus has been widely proclaimed in our city. In 1959 719,000 people attended meetings to hear Billy Graham proclaim the good news (about 40% of the population at the time). Secondly, They realised their need of forgiveness, and God answered their cry for mercy. In Ninevah, there was national repentance. Similarly in Melbourne in 1959, more than 26,000 people responded to the call to follow Jesus.
In the end, this is a sovereign work of our merciful God. It flows from who He is – the God of mercy and love. We are dependent on him to revive us, our city, nation, world. Let’s keep crying out to him to have mercy and empower people to believe the good news and turn from going their own way to going God’s way. It’s the great need of our time. It’s the only hope. Or rather, He’s the only hope. Let’s proclaim his message of repentance and faith, and pray for his powerful work in our city.