The meaning of the name Jonah is: Dove. In the Bible, the prophet Jonah was swallowed by a big fish after God caused his ship to sink and then was tossed up onto dry land after three days and nights in the fish’s belly. Sailors traditionally use the name Jonah to personify someone who brings bad luck.
The book of Jonah is full of revelation. Jesus refers to the experience Jonah had as a sign to the Jews. “For as Jonah was three days and nights in the belly of the sea-monster; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Mt. 12:40). Clearly, the Lord viewed Jonah’s three-day entombment as a foreshadowing of his resurrection from the grave & hell, by which, Christ was declared to be the Son of God with power (Rom. 1:4). “For whatsoever things were written aforetime [the Old Testament Scriptures] were written for our learning, that through patience and through comfort of the scriptures we might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).
One can find many similarities between the story of Jonah and the message of Jesus while He was in the earth. In the book of Jonah, there is much demonstration about the people [gentiles] outside of God’s people [the Israelites]. The book shows the character of the men on the ship that Jonah boarded to run from the call of God. When trouble came to them, they instinctively knew it was because of someone on the ship. The men showed reverence to the God of Jonah once’s they knew his origin. They even feared God more than Jonah. There is so much more here to explore.
Then there’s the city, Nineveh, that God told Jonah to give a message of repentance. Nineveh was a gentile city that did not serve or know God, Jehovah. These people were the Israelites arch enemy. God was reaching out to a people that were not His own. Jesus declared that “the men of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah” (Mt. 12:41), God “saw their [the people of Nineveh] works, that they turned from their evil way” (Jon. 3:10). A gentile city humbled themselves and God withdrew His judgement.
“Jesus came for His own and His own received Him not”, Jon1:11. God was speaking aforetime through the book of Jonah indicating His mercy for a people that knew Him not. The Jews rejected Jesus...
“But 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: Mathew 12:39 That was God showing them that Jonah was a representation of a prejudice people, which they were. Jonah did not want to tell them to repent because he knew God would have mercy on them. So all he said to them was, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” 5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
Jonah becomes angry at God and resents His compassion toward Nineveh. The book ends with God trying to demonstrate His mercy and teach Jonah something about His character. God is God and He can have mercy on anyone He chooses to have mercy!!! This is huge lesson we can benefit from today.
We often are quick to judge others for things that have not been revealed to them. God reserves the right to demonstrate His mercy wherever He chooses. And we, as His disciples are to adhere to His thoughts rather than our own!!
THE NEXT 3 Wednesday’s, we will be studying the book of Jonah. There is so much about this minor prophet, and the the dealings of God with him. You don’t want to miss it! Come join us! It all starts tonight! 7:00-8:30 pm pls be on time!