God's truth in Old Testament times was almost exclusively for the Jewish people.
A prominent exception is the prophet Jonah's preaching to the pagan city of Nineveh. Jonah's story is well-known, for he rebelled against God's commandment to preach to Nineveh, fled by boat, was thrown overboard to quench the storm, and swallowed by a large fish. God spared Jonah, and finally he obeyed God.
Jonah's sermon was all judgment: forty days before Nineveh is destroyed. There was no salvation in it at all, yet the people repented wholesale and God spared Nineveh.
Jonah was furious with God for sparing Nineveh, for the people were wicked and had committed great atrocities against the people of Israel.
Nineveh needed judgment, and Jonah wanted it destroyed without warning. Justice and the law required judgment, and Jonah rebuked God for showing mercy on the city.
When the Lord Jesus came, the people thought Messiah would judge the wicked nations. But Christ preached the Gospel of forgiveness to all who trust in Him, and declared He had not come to judge the world but to save it.
The spirit of Jonah was alive and well in Jesus' day. Most of the people never grasped this simple truth: Jesus came to save us from our sins, not from the sins of those other people over there.
But lost men to this day assume that Jesus loves only decent people and will save us, but not those miserable sinners over yonder.
The Pharisees rebuked Christ for consorting with miserable sinners. Even today, Jonah's harsh spirit of judgment is with us.
Praise God, Jesus came to save even Gentiles! He came as a light to the whole world! Whoever believes on Him will have everlasting life!
John Pittman Hey was born in 1961 in Jackson, Mississippi, to Godly parents who from the beginning raised him in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. With child-like faith he came to Christ on his fourth birthday at his mother's knee. He received his education at church...