This discourse forms a sort of last testimony of Jesus, in which the Church is provided with a final injunction and moral exhortation. In this respect it is similar to the farewell discourses of Jacob, Moses, Joshua, and Samuel. That is to say, it serves the purpose of instructing the Christian Church how to live during the period (literally "eon" in Greek) that will last until the Lord's second coming.
This conduct will be especially marked by vigilance, so that believers may not be "deceived." They will suffer persecution, Jesus foretells, and he goes on to make two points with respect to this persecution. They must not lose heart, and second, it does not mean that the end is near. They must persevere to the end.
Jonah 1: Jonah's is a story full of paradox and irony, characteristics that mark both the person of the prophet and his career. Commanded by the Lord to go and preach repentance to the Ninevites, he proceeds in the very opposite direction, boarding a ship at the port of Joppa, headed to Tarshish (Cadiz, beyond the Straits of Gibraltar) at the other end of the Mediterranean Sea.
While other biblical prophets, such as Moses and Jeremiah, showed themselves reluctant to comply with their prophetic call, Jonah seems to be the only one whose reluctance was inspired by the fear of being successful! It is an important feature of this story that Jonah did not want the Ninevites to be converted; he wanted them justly punished, not spared.
The original account of Jonah's call does not tell us this fact; we learn it only at the end of the book: "Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness, One who relents from doing harm" (4:2).
Then, in his very flight Jonah discovers another paradox of the Lord's mercy, its uncanny capacity for bringing good out of evil. Thus, the prophet's very infidelity to God's call is turned into the means by which the pagan sailors come to know and worship the true God (1:16). Thus, Jonah's prophetic ministry, precisely because of his attempted disobedience to it, is enhanced by the conversion of two sets of people.