Jonah – Revealing Our Sign of Christ’s Resurrection

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Jonah was such an amazing man and prophet of God. In the Book of Jonah, we find his life typifies the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I know some of the stories of Jonah living in the whale’s belly for three days and nights, warming himself by a fire and enjoying fish-sticks or something, like in Pinocchio. However, Jonah died and was dead for three days and three nights and then resurrected and put back on the shore. In Jonah’s prayer he said “yet hast thou {God} brought up my life from corruption” (Jonah 2:6), “corruption” means the grave in which the body begins turning back to dust, for Jonah was resurrected from the corruption that death produces. In Acts 2:31 we can read about Christ’s resurrection and salvation from corruption.

Jesus said in Matthew 12:40 “For as Jonas {Jonah} 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.” As Jonah was dead and lifeless “so” was Jesus Christ dead and lifeless.

Jonah 2:9 – But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed {to be a faithful prophet}. Salvation is of the LORD. {As Jonah’s salvation was of the Lord, his resurrection was also of the Lord.}

God asked Jonah to go to Nineveh and prophesy unto the Ninevites, for their wickedness was incredible. What is interesting is that Nineveh was the capital city of Assyria (and they were unbelievers); they were oppressing the northern kingdom of Israel.

Jonah had prophesied already to Israel to turn from their evil ways, and to be restored in the blessings of God (II Kings 14:25-27). Nevertheless, Jonah thought in himself that if Nineveh continued in their own wickedness instead of repenting, then they would eventually consume themselves in their own wickedness and thus they would be unable to inflict any more harm on Israel. So when God said go to Nineveh, Jonah went in the opposite direction to Tarshish.

Jonah boarded a ship and they went into a storm with a mighty tempest. Jonah actually said to the crew that if they would “take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you:” (Jonah 1:12).

Jonah would rather drown in the sea than to prophesy in Nineveh. He hoped that committing his life to the sea would save Israel. Yet only one could save Israel, that would be Jesus Christ. Jonah gave his life in what he believed would save his people. We cannot fault Jonah for having a heart to save his people.

Jonah simply needed a sign from heaven to assure his heart that what he would do was indeed the will of God.  This is exactly what God did for him in raising him up, and then Jonah went to Nineveh and prophesied following God’s instructions, though he truly still hoped that Nineveh would not repent from their wicked ways and simply be destroyed by their own wickedness, but they did repent.

The righteous judgments of God are always true and just and in Nineveh we can discover God’s graciousness even upon the unbeliever. Luke 11:30 records Jesus’ words “for as Jonas {Jonah} was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.” As Jonah was a “living” sign and example to the Ninevites who changed their evil ways, so Jesus Christ also becomes a sign to Israel of resurrection and eternal life by his own resurrection (Matthew 12:38-41).

Today when we accept and believe in the resurrection (Romans 10:9-10), then we receive in our very hearts Jesus Christ, and the power of his resurrection (Philippians 3:10a; Romans 8:11).

The Bible teaches us that signs will follow them that believe (Mark 16:17-18). God is not in the business of performing tricks, like the man who kept praying at night on his bed saying “God if you are real, then please turn on my light for then I would believe.” Jesus said to Thomas “because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29), because today believing precedes signs, while before the resurrection of Jesus Christ, signs preceded believing.

The greatest sign that we have today is knowing, believing, and receiving spiritual wholeness, which is our Sign of Christ’s Resurrection, because today in grace we have the resurrected Christ within our very hearts.

Today we have the promises recorded in God’s healing Word as a written sign so we may continue believing on our resurrected Savior, and his spiritual power within us, so that we may walk with God in the power of Christ Jesus’ resurrection.