“Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and the cried out and said, ‘Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.’ Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them” (Jonah 3:4-5).
Arguably, it’s the shortest sermon ever preached; an unknown foreigner proclaims a single sentence to a pagan people, and revival comes to a major Assyrian city. A hundred years later, Jeremiah would prophecy to his own people the overthrow of Jerusalem, and they had him arrested and imprisoned. In terms of audience response, Jonah is the only successful prophet in Israel’s history. All others were mocked, ignored, and stoned. It’s but another reason why the best energies and resources of the church are utilized for the Great Commission task; being fishers of men rather than keepers of the aquarium. It is among the unacquainted, and rarely among the overly acquainted, that God’s word has its most transformational effect.