June 10 – Trip to the Holy Land – Old Jaffa

DAY 29 – OLD JAFFA

Theme – Evangelism

Read Acts 10:9-35

No question about it… The port of Old Jaffa (Biblical “Joppa”) is a gorgeous place today. It’s beautifully lit at night and picturesque even in the daytime. I’m not sure it felt that way, however, to a couple of well-known biblical characters.  In Joppa, both Jonah and Peter received a commission from God to proclaim His mercy and grace to hated heathens. Neither was crazy about the idea.

Jonah was supposed to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh, located northeast of Joppa, but in an act of defiance, he sailed northwest toward Tarshish – the opposite direction. Eventually the rebel prophet was thrown overboard by his shipmates, started to drown and got a quick lesson in the digestive processes of some great fish. It’s almost as if the fish thought, “I can’t stomach this.” All this convinced Jonah that maybe going to Nineveh wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

Peter was a devout Jew who believed that Gentiles were “unclean” and should be avoided at all cost. But God sent a vision of clean and unclean animals to Peter (Acts 10) to demonstrate that all men can be recipients of His love. Peter obediently headed to the house of Cornelius at Caesarea, where the Roman centurion was converted.

Both men learned that God is “no respecter of persons.”  The Gospel has the power to transform the life of anyone – regardless of racial, ethnic, religious, or moral background. The job of every believer is to evangelize. That doesn’t mean we hit people over the head with the Bible. It simply means to share the good news of God‘s love with those who are far from Him.

God has left us on this earth for that reason! Just as the “Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost” (Luke 19:10), every child of God has a similar mission in this world. In fact it’s a rescue mission – much like the job of a lifeguard is to rescue those who are drowning. Jesus said we are to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

That means our primary concern in life should be the eternal destiny of those who are far from God. Our occupations are not the restriction. Our financial status is not the restriction. Our health is not even the restriction.  The only restriction is whether we choose to accept that responsibility.  To live on mission means we use every available resource to share the Good News of God’s love with those who are perishing.

Prayer of reflection:  Heavenly Father, people all around me today are headed to eternity apart from you.  Help me to capture each encounter like a lifeguard who rescues a drowning person.

Bob Fetterhoff

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