In the same ancient port city of Jaffa (or Joppa as it was known in Bible times), we’re told that Jonah “went down to Joppa where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD” (Jonah 1:3). God’s prophet didn’t think the Ninevites, Israel’s enemies, were worth saving, so he ignored God’s call to go and preach repentance there. It was on this Mediterranean Sea that a large fish swallowed Jonah where in the belly of the fish, God eventually got His prophet’s attention and his call was renewed. “You threw me into the Mediterranean Sea. I was in the middle of its waters. They were all around me. All of your rolling waves were sweeping over me…But you are the Lord my God. You brought my life up from the very edge of the pit of death…I will do what I have promised. I will say, ‘Lord, you are the one who saves.’” (2:3, 6, 9 NIRV). After being saved from death himself, you would think Jonah would have a change of heart, but quite the opposite was true. Although Jonah obeyed God and went to Nineveh to turn the wicked city back to the Lord, the resentful prophet still hoped the city would perish. Thankfully, God’s mercy prevailed and the people were saved. Of course Jonah was displeased and wished for death, but in the end, even he had to learn that everyone is worth saving.
Easter is a time when we reflect on the price Jesus paid for our salvation. He didn’t come to save a few, but the whole world, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Unlike Jonah, Jesus thought everyone was worth saving. We’re given the same call as Jonah to go and share that message with those around us because they all need to hear it, they’re all worth saving!