Simon Bar-Jonah

In Acts 9 Peter goes to Joppa, staying in a house that Luke points out is “by the sea” (Acts 10:6). Peter was originally staying at the nearby town of Lydda, but he went to Joppa at the request of some disciples, and there he raised Tabitha from the dead. Later Cornelius sends his servants to Joppa to retrieve Peter. The location of Joppa in all of this is not incidental.

Joppa is a seaport. It is where Jonah went in order to get a ship to flee from the presence of the Lord, who commanded him to go preach to Ninevah (Jonah 1). Jonah didn’t want the glory to depart from Israel and transfer to the Gentiles, so he went to Joppa to escape, to go the other way.

Peter, “the apostle to the Jews” (Gal 2:8), also finds himself in Joppa. In Joppa he is faced with two options: go preach to the Gentiles, or attempt to flee from God’s call, restricting God’s salvation to Israel. Peter is a new Jonah.

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