Gospel of Matthew 12:38-40
Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”
But Jesus answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation ask for a sign, and no sign will be given except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights (three days and three nights) in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” And Jesus is the Son of Man so He was speaking of Himself.
Jesus was saying He will die and when people died in those days, they would descend into the heart of the earth waiting to be freed (or not) Because Jesus had not yet saved us. But after three days and three nights dead and inside the earth Jesus is saying He will return! And He did. You see, Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a great fish! And Jesus was using this as an example to explain what will happen, that Jesus has the power to lay down His own life and that after three days take it back again at his own will, and He did. In comparison Jonah could not take back his own life, it was by the power of God and of course Jonah would later die a second time. But not Jesus!
When Jesus was in hades he freed all those who believed in Him and they went to heaven. These days when a believer dies they go straight to heaven – not Hades. Those who don’t believe still go down to Hades, in the belly of the earth waiting to be sent to Hell..
Some people might not believe us when we say Jonah spent three days and night inside a fish. But I am here to tell you, If Jesus said that Jonah spent three days in a fish then it must be TRUE because Jesus is the Truth. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE. Jesus is God, and God does not lie. That means we can believe Jesus, who confirms that Jonah really existed, and he really was inside a great fish for three days and three nights.
In fact the name of Jonah’s father is also “Amittai” Do you know what Amittai means?? It means Truth in Hebrew. God always finds ways to remind us His Bible is the Truth and so we should have no problem believing Jonah was inside a great fish – which swam at God’s command to swallow up Jonah!
So, lets look at the book of Jonah and find out why he ended up inside a great fish!
|1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,||Amittai means Truth in Hebrew|
|2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.”
The innocent blood of Abel cries against Cain.
|Nineveh capital of the Assyrians. A nation well known for severe cruelty and violence. They were a threat to Israel.
Jonah did not want to Cry against them to Repent but wanted the Assyrians to die in their wickedness. Problem: The Hebrews should be a Light much like the Church should be! But imagine being an Israelite prophesying doom to Assyria!
|3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
God gave Peter a message for the Gentiles just as God gave a message to Jonah.
|Jonah goes to Joppa to flee to Tarshish to hide from the Lord and pays for a ship – to get far away from Nineveh and God might cancel the mission? (Disobedience) (Joppa is the place of Peters vision when Cornelius is sent to him.) God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New Testament. Those who repent and believe in Him will be saved.
Revelation hiding in caves from God. You cannot hide. God is watching you listening to me right now talking with you!
|4 But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.
If sleeping instead of praying – Chaos can creep upon us. Example soldiers in the night arrest Jesus. Storm on Jonah.
|Psalm 107-23-25 Those who go down to the sea in ships, Who do business on great waters, They see the works of the Lord, And His wonders in the deep. For He commands and raises the stormy wind, Which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens, They go down again to the depths; Their soul melts because of trouble.|
|5 Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep.||The crew were very experienced sailors, Tarshish boats were very strong, but yet feared and cried to their own false gods.
God does not answer cries to idols. So the crew throw their supplies overboard in desperation – at great cost.
Jonah is sleeping! He must have gotten tired in a hurry to get to Joppa and flee (sleeping just like the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane) The captain demands to wake up and pray to your God! (Watch and Pray Gethsemane)
|6 So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.”||Jonah might have been the only one on the ship that had not yet prayed to his own God. Also it is possible he was the only stranger on the ship. IDOLD CAN NOT HEAR – NO EARS!|
|7 And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah.|
|8 Then they said to him, “Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?”|
|9 So he said to them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”||Jonah mentions the sea because he knows the storm is because of him and is getting worse. Missing Dry Land?|
|10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, “Why have you done this?” For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.||Afraid because no doubt they knew of the reputation of the Hebrews God. No doubt they had heard to stories in the Torah of our God, David and Goliath, Tom Thumb?|
|11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?”—for the sea was growing more tempestuous.|
|12 And he said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.”||Jonah speaks the Lords command – Throw me into the sea!!!!!! (Jonah is a Sacrifice)
Jonahs disobedience came at a cost.
|13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them.||But they did not and instead they rowed harder! Perhaps touched by how Jonah was a willing sacrifice and fearing to murder a prophet. Psalm 107 v27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, And are at their wits’ end.|
|14 Therefore they cried out to the Lord and said, “We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You.”||Psalm 107 v28 Storm gets worse – The crew are converted and pray. Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, And He brings them out of their distresses. A MIRACLE –
The Lord Hears
|15 So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging.
Jonah is a sacrifice just as Jesus is a sacrifice.
|They obey the command of the Lord. Jonah thrown into the sea. Psalm 107 v29 He calms the storm, So that its waves are still.
Compare Jesus calming the storm in the NT when Jesus slept and the Apostles awoke Him.
Q. Do you think the sea ceased from raging before Jonah even touched the sea?
Q. Do you think Jonah could swim? The water became clam.
Q. How long do you think it was before the Great Fish arrived?
|16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows.
|The crew sacrifice to the Lord the ONE TRUE GOD.
Psalm 107:30-32 Then they are glad because they are quiet;
So He guides them to their desired haven. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people, And praise Him in the company of the elders.
|17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.||Because? It is God’s will that Nineveh (Assyria) repents.
Even fish obey God’s command.
The fish is representative of the Tomb that the body of Jesus was wrapped and placed into.
|2 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish’s belly. And he said:
“I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction,
“Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice. (GOD WILL HEAR US ANYWHERE)
(PS 139 If I make my bed in Hell God thou art there)
3 For You cast me into the deep,
|6 I went down to the moorings of the mountains;
The earth with its bars closed behind me forever; (PRISON? Gates of Hell Jesus opened when He died on the cross?)
Yet You have brought up my life from the pit,
O Lord, my God. (MY OPINION IS HADES)7 “When my soul fainted within me,
I remembered the Lord; (HE WAS HUMBLED)
And my prayer went up to You,
Into Your holy temple.
8 “Those who regard worthless idols (which can’t hear)
9 But I will sacrifice to You
10 So the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.(EVEN ANIMALS OBEY GOD BUT MEN CAN BE REBELLIOUS AND HARD HEARTED)
We can believe in God yet have a heart that is not right. Jonah still has lessons to learn as we will see in Session 2.