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.
I. IN BOTH WE SEE A MARKED JUDGMENT OF GOD. The storm, the detection, the punishment, were all from God. Jonah was the sinner on board. Christ, "without sin," "became sin for us." He suffered at the hands of wicked men; yet "the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all," "He was wounded for our transgression." The vast world vessel went plunging on to destruction, the storm unappeased while the sin was unpunished. On! -
"When lo! upon the reeling deck a weary stranger stands,
And to the dark devoted crew stretches his suppliant hands;
From the face of God, from the face of God, from the face of God ye flee;
Tis the blast of the breath of his nostrils that shakes this stormy sea.
But take ye me and cast me into the troubled deep,
And the wrath that is roused against you will be pacified, and sleep." Yes, he is our Peace! "For the transgression of my people was he stricken."
II. JONAH, IN HIS BURIAL, WAS A SIGN OF CHRIST. Very unlike was the sea monster bearing away the prophet to the rock tomb that received the body of our Lord; yet in this they were alike, that they had been unused as tombs before. Prepared were both for the event that has made both eternally memorable. "The Lord had prepared" the fish. Joseph, unwittingly acting out the Divine purpose, had prepared the rock hewn tomb. He may have meant it for himself. God meant it for his Son. This Isaiah had foretold: "He made his grave with the rich." The time of Jonah's and our Lord's burial agreed. So our Lord's resurrection on the third day was "according to the Scriptures" - to his own word and his predictive type. Jonah, cast into the deep, seemed done with. An end of him! So, to many, with Christ, when the loving Marys and "those lords of high degree" bore him to the tomb. In his living tomb Jonah miraculously lived. And though Christ's body was dead, where was he? Still living; "doing good;" preaching the glad tidings in the unseen world (1 Peter 3:19).
III. JONAH'S RESURRECTION WAS A SIGN OF CHRIST'S. God "spake unto the fish," and it cast the living prophet to the shore. So "God raised from the dead" the Lord Jesus. Thus he reversed the marked judgment that, in suffering and death, had come upon his Son. He was now "highly exalted" as Prince and Saviour. Moral resurrections attest Christ's. "Witnesses to Christ's resurrection" are all saved men and women. They are "risen with Christ;" and by his Spirit rise.
IV. JONAH'S MISSION TO THE GENTILES WAS A TYPE OF CHRIST'S. Jonah was sent to the Ninevites. Christ arose to be a Saviour "to the uttermost parts of the earth." To all nations. For every creature. His mission - by many voices and ministers - is going on. Its continuance declares his. Its moral victories - over ignorance, superstition, sin - attest his royal and almighty power. "All power hath been given unto me." Jonah himself, raised from such a grave, was the sign to the Ninevites. Christ is the Sign of Christianity. Often, alas! spoken against and rejected. Happy those - only those - who accept and glory in him! - G.T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.