JONAH AS A TYPE OF CHRIST (Part II) Anglican Daily Devotion, 24 August 2021 Anno Domini
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“Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:17; all scripture quoted is from the king James Version)
“Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. 39But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 40For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.” (Matthew 12:38-41)
It is not in the perfection of types of our Lord Jesus Christ that illumine our understanding, but in their absolute inferiority to measure to the full stature of that represented. In that sense, they are both typical, and, at the same time, antitypical. No less is true of Jonah whose life in many particulars mirror the life of Christ; yet, the failures of Jonah contrasted with the beauty and righteousness of Christ we find an amazing inspiration. In the Garden at Gethsemane, our Lord Prayed: “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42) Note the striking difference in Jonah who fled the will of God, and our Lord Jesus Christ who embraced it in spite of personal discretion.
In his inclinations to flee the service of God, Jonah is in no wise a Type of Christ for he, as all other types, fall far short of the object they typify. It is also this contrast that causes that perfect image of Christ to stand out in such stark relief. Our Lord never hesitated to do all that His Father commanded! In the weakness and failure of Jonah, how much more clearly do we observe the greatness and grandeur of Christ! In our own weakness and failure, we cannot help but admit the unsurpassed holiness of our Lord.
I hope that you will have already looked over the Book of Jonah, Reader, and will have detected stellar comparisons, in type, with Christ. What else do we see other than the fact that Jonah, like Christ, was sent to a lost and sinful people?
Jonah, like Christ descended to the depths of Hell. He was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly. “….. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:17) Jesus, too, lay in the stone tomb for three days and three nights. It was during this time that Christ descended into Hell. 40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. A striking difference between the horror of Jonah’s experience and the Passion of Christ is this: Jonah underwent his trial and suffering due to his disobedience and in chastisement to force him to go to Nineveh. Jesus came first to the lost world and taught in obedience to His Father. He then suffered death and burial out of obedience and not out of disobedience. Both rose from the gloomy darkness on the third day.
Jonah, like Christ, slept soundly throughout a raging storm at sea. Both were awakened by fearful seaman. Christ calmed the sea at His Word. Jonah calmed the sea at his being cast into it.
Jonah was cast off by the men of the ship in order to save themselves. Christ was cast off from Israel and crucified by men who, unwittingly, did so as a matter of their own possible salvation. These good, yet pagan men of the sea, did not desire to cast Jonah into the sea just as the Roman Prefect, Pontius Pilate, desired not to crucify Christ. Yet, both faced their fated ordeal in the end. We read: “Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. 12And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. 13Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. 14Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee. 15So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging (Jonah 1:11-15) These rough men of the sea repented to God of the action they were forced to take against Jonah. Remember, Reader, how Pontius Pilate vainly washed his hands of “this innocent man’s blood.”
Another typical characteristic of Jonah’s experience was the effect of his preaching. The city repented at his preaching. Jesus came preaching the Gospel of Salvation and men were saved thereby. He, unlike Jonah, died to seal that redemption offered. Did you find other typical qualities in the account? If so, please share them with me.