Jonah Part 8: Crossing Cultures posted by Yuen Woh Voon on Feb 27, 2012
I would like to conclude this series of blogs on Jonah with the topic of “crossing cultures.” One of the unique accomplishments of the Great Commission has been the uniting of people from different cultures into one body, the church of Jesus Christ.
From Jesus sharing with the Samaritan woman, Philip with the Ethiopian eunuch, Peter with Cornelius, the Roman centurion, and Paul and Silas with the Philippian jailer, the disciples of Jesus have continued to go and make disciples by crossing cultures. The vision of the church of Jesus Christ has been to make disciples “from every nation, tribe, people and language.” (Rev 7:9 NIV)
In the Old Testament, this theme of God’s love and grace crossing from culture to culture has been resonant. God commanded Abraham:“Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Gen 12:1-3 NIV)
As we conclude Jonah, we are reminded of yet another culture crossing. Jonah is commanded to preach to a foreign culture, the Assyrian culture of which Nineveh was the capital city.
When we want to reach out to a different culture, we will have to move out of our own comfort zone. We would rather mix and mingle with people of our own kind. Birds of the same feather and all that … But the Lord is calling us to go … to step out of our own culture and into another’s. The Lord Jesus Himself left the glory of heaven and came down to earth to be mankind’s servant in order to save mankind. He was the world’s greatest missionary!
The Bible says the Lord Jesus came down and “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Php 2:7 NIV) He served mankind by being a servant to mankind, by dying for mankind. Now He calls us to do the same. No, He commands us to do the same.
The Apostle Paul is referring to a similar attitude when he says,“Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. … To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. (1 Cor 9:19-23 NIV)
It’s not a comfortable task. No one likes to be a servant to another. More so to serve people who are not like us. Sometimes in our humanity, we even loathe people of a certain race. But that’s what obedience is. To do something we do not like. If we like it anyway, we don’t need to obey. Only servants will obey. And the Great Commission is for obeying. It’s not called the Great Suggestion. Sadly it has even become the Great Omission!
Look around you today. In today’s world, peoples of other cultures are near and around us. We don’t need to go very far. But maybe like Jonah, you will be called to go to a faraway land to seek people of another culture. Whatever it is, remember. God has been calling His people since time immemorial to go to peoples of other cultures. It is only then, when we are willing to go that we can truly understand the heart of our God for He so loved “THE WORLD” that He gave …”
Have a nice day!