What’s the most effective sermon in history? Many people might reference a Billy Graham Crusade, or some other famous preacher. Others might also look at Peter’s Pentecost sermon in Acts chapter 2. However, whether you’re looking at total number of lives impacted or total percentage of response, Jonah chapter 3 is probably the largest on both. Reading Jonah 3:6-10, we see the king himself repenting and turning to God. We’ve already seen every single person that heard Jonah’s message repenting and turning to God. We find out later in chapter 4 that there are over 120,000 people in the city of Nineveh. That’s quite a crusade!
In the very last verse, verse 10, we see how God responds to their repentance. God is so moved that he changes His plan and does not destroy the city. He hears their cries for mercy and He accepts their repentance and spares the city.
What can we learn from these verses? First, we see that God is responsible for the results. Jonah was the most unwilling messenger there was. He was spurred on only by the lessons he learned during his disobedience. He was reluctant to go, and was not merciful in delivering his message. Yet, God used that to bring about massive revival. Second, mercy and judgement both are God’s responsibility, not ours. We are not responsible to determine how effective we are at giving God’s message. If we have been commanded to give a message, we should be obedient. God alone can see how people respond to the messages that we give. God alone is responsible for addressing other people’s obedience or disobedience to a message they receive. We need only be concerned about ourselves and our obedience to God, He will concern Himself with the obedience of the rest.