Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Great Preaching?


But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.  (Matthew 12:39-41)


Jonah’s disobedience

If we were to prepare a curriculum on evangelism, we probably would not include Jonah, and yet Jonah had great success.  He was disobedient and saw sailors saved.  He was recommissioned and preached a message that he did not want to preach and saw a whole city saved.  I wonder what would have happened if he had been a willing evangelist?


Why did Jonah resist His call?

The Assyrians were a ruthless bunch and Nineveh was its capital.  No doubt Jonah had seen and heard of the cruelty of the Assyrians.  As a prophet he likely knew that ultimately, they would be the instrument God would use to punish the nation of Israel for worshiping the same gods that the Canaanites before them had worshiped. There is no doubt that Jonah was not interested in seeing the city of Nineveh saved from destruction.  To put it simply, Jonah did not like the Assyrians and possibly even hated them.


What happened when Jonah refused to obey?

Jonah fled from the presence of the Lord and paid a fare to go down.  And that is always what happens when we disobey God.  It costs us and we go down.  Usually we end up in a pit of despair.  Jonah certainly did.  But in Jonah’s case, the Lord used his disobedience to see a bunch of sailors come to faith in the Lord.  They wanted salvation from a storm.  They got that and they also got eternal salvation.  When Jonah told them his story; and when the sea was calmed by casting him into it,  they realized that His God was real.


We know that Jonah was thrown overboard and was swallowed by a great fish.  Jonah, of course still needed to go to Nineveh to preach. but he needed an attitude adjustment.  God preserved him by having a great fish swallow him when the sailors threw him overboard to calm the sea.  In the belly of that fish he realizes that “Salvation is of the Lord.”  God saved the sailors, God was saving Jonah, and God would save the Ninevites. 


God gave Jonah a second chance.  A person would think Jonah would have been happy for that,  but he wasn’t.  He went to Nineveh and preached just eight words, “Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown.”  He didn’t preach a message of love or of hope.  He preached about coming destruction.  When the Ninevites heard his message they believed God and showed it by fasting and mourning.  When they believed God about the coming destruction, they looked for a means of salvation and they found it.  God didn’t destroy them.  They were saved. But Jonah was still angry with God.  He complained because he knew that even though Nineveh deserved to be destroyed, God would be merciful to them.  This caused him to go down into the pit of depression.  He wanted to die.  This is his seconf pit.  But his preaching had been effective.



First, a person cannot run from the presence of the Lord.  Second, God can use our disobedience to fulfill His purposes.  Third, we need to keep the preaching simple and we need to preach about sin and coming judgment.  Fourth, if God can do such miracles with one who disobeys and is angry, maybe there is hope that he can use some of us who perhaps are a bit defective as well.


Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of October 2, 2016

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