- Amos 8:4-5
- Nahum 3:1-5
- 2 Peter 3:9
- Matthew 12:38-41
- If you have been with us for this series, how has your understanding and perspective on the story of Jonah changed so far?
- Chapter 3 is the story of Jonah’s second chance, being called to the same place as we saw at the beginning of the story. How would you expect Jonah to respond to being given a second chance? How does he actually respond?
- Compared to other Old Testament prophecy, like in Amos and Nahum, Jonah seems to be doing the bare minimum, speaking only eight words (five in Hebrew), and failing to mention God at all. How does this relate to a time when you had to do something you didn’t want to do? Do you blame Jonah or do you understand where he is coming from?
- Despite the shortcomings of Jonah’s actions, the Ninevites respond in pretty dramatic and unexpected ways. What does it mean in this story that God responded by changing the hearts of the Ninevites? What do you think Jonah’s response will be in chapter 4?
- In your own words, what does repentance mean? How does your definition or understanding change when you see this word used to describe God’s actions? (Jonah 3:9-10)
- Jonah, it turns out, is the biggest obstacle in the story. He runs away, he refuses to obey, he cuts corners and gives a pretty small effort. Nineveh seems to respond almost immediately, without any pause. If this story can help us see ourselves more clearly, do you see yourself to be more like Jonah or the Ninevites?
- Why do you think it’s so hard for Jonah to see what is being given to him – mercy and grace – and in what ways might we be similarly blind or shortsighted?
- Jesus mentions Jonah (Matthew 12:38-41) as a way of foretelling his own death and resurrection. How can you respond to Jesus with a spirit of repentance today and in the two weeks left before Easter Sunday?
“Jonah thus makes his message as vague and as blunt and as offensive as he possibly can…that would make it almost impossible for the people to respond positively.” – Terence E. Fretheim