How Wide is God's Grace?
Delivered By
Pastor Doug Groen and LaVerne Wiginton Accompanist
Delivered On
January 25, 2015 at 10:00 AM
Central Passage
Mark 1:14-20
How Wide is God's Grace?

Mark 1:14-20New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Announces the Good News

14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Jesus Calls His First Disciples

16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.

19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

Pastor's Summary of Jonah 3:1-5, 10

Jonah is the archetypical reluctant prophet.  Earlier, in 1:2, God has called him to "'Go at once to Nineveh...and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me'" but he has tried to escape by sailing to the ends of the earth.  God has punished him by having a large fish swallow him.

Now God commands Jonah a second time: God is not going to let him off! He now obeys: he goes to the capital of Assyria, " an exceeding large city: (3:3).  He goes into the city, but only part-way ("a day's walk", 3:4): half measures are good enought for him.  Nineveh will be "overthrown" or destroyed.  In 3:5, the residents react to this oracle: they believe God (in the person of the prophet) and acknowledge their godlessness. 3:6-9 (not a part of our reading) tell us the king's reaction and edict: he dons "sackcloth" and sits in "ashes"-traditional signs of mourning and repentance; he decrees three stages of repentance for all: (1) admission of guilt, by way of outward signs; (2) change in each person's attitude to others ("in turning away from evil and violence); (3) acknowledgement of God's freedom in how he responds to repentance ("he may turn from his fierce anger", 3:9). Then 3:10: God does not change his mind:he accepts their repentance and delivers them.