About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Prayer (ch. 2:1- 10)
I've said earlier, Jesus, in Matthew 12:39 and 40 compares his death and
His visit to Hades with Jonah being in the belly of the fish for three
days and three nights. Because
of this, I will comment on the verses in this chapter first as they
apply to Jonah, then I will go back and comment on these verses as they
apply to Jesus. Chapter 2 is
a clear portrayal, clear prophecy, of Jesus' death and visit to Hades.
1 states that while inside the fist, Jonah "prayed to the Lord, his
God". I am sure this
was one very serious prayer. He's
praying to Yahweh, "his" God. There is a real personal sense
to the words "his God". This
is a real personal situation that Jonah finds himself in.
It's just himself inside the fish.
He's all alone and he is very desperate.
2 tells us the intensity of this serious prayer.
Jonah "called out', or, "cried out" to the Lord
from a posture of "distress".
As is always the case with such a prayer, verse 2 says that God
answered Jonah. There is
something to be learned here, and that is, when we cry out to the Lord,
from the bottom of our hearts, in one way or another, He will hear us
and answer us.
the phrase in the NIV, "from the depth of the grave".
This phrase is translated from the Hebrew word "Shaol",
which is the "place of the departed dead".
this point we need to distinguish between four particular words found in
the Bible. We see one word
here. That's Sheol.
The New Testament Greek equivalent to Sheol is "Hades".
you read Luke 16:19 and following you will learn something about Hades,
or Sheol. There was a man in
one part of Hades and another man in the other part of Hades.
Jesus speaks of Hades being divided into two sections.
One side had fire while the other side had no fire.
Hades, or Sheol, at the time when Jesus was teaching this was
divided into two parts. One
part was for the righteous dead and the other part was for the wicked
Ephesians 4:7 and Matthew 12:40 we learn that Jesus, after dying on the
cross went to Hades and freed the righteous dead.
In Matthew 12:40 Jesus says that Hades is in the centre of the
the book of Revelation we see the
Matthew 12:40, Jesus compares Himself going to the center of the earth,
that is Hades, to Jonah being stuck in the fish's belly for three days
and three nights. This tells
us that this incident with Jonah and the fish is prophetic.
Jonah also hints as this being prophetic also when instead of
saying he was in the belly of the fish in verse 2, he says he was in
Sheol, or Hades. Some might
say that Jonah is simply comparing being in the fishes belly to Hades,
and they might have a point, but there might be more to it than that.
when Jesus told the thief on the cross that he would be with Him in
you're not convinced that the words "called out" in the first
part of verse 2 isn't a "cry", well, the last part of verse 2
specifically uses the word "cry:.
we see the word "grave" or "Sheol" in verse 2, and
since Jesus describes this as "Hades", we need to understand
that this verse is speaking about Jonah being inside of the fish.
However, the next few verses seem to describe Jonah when he was
in the sea and before he was swallowed by the fist.
The next few verses is a perfect picture of a downing man.
though it was the crew of the boat that threw Jonah into the sea, we see
in verse 3 that Jonah attributes him being thrown into the sea by the
crew of the ship to God. God
was trying to get Jonah's attention.
We see this all the way through the Bible.
God often uses people, whether they are righteous or wicked, to
do His will.
verse 4 Jonah views this event as being "banished" from the
sight of God. Of course, God
sees everyone everywhere. What
I believe happened here, or, what Jonah might have been thinking, is
that he was banished from the presence of the Lord.
He lost the fellowship he once had with his God. God
was there, but at the moment, He refused to help Jonah.
5 gets pretty graphic when it says that seaweed was wrapped around
Jonah's head. The sea is
full of seaweed and other unpleasantness, and it is all wrapped around
his head, and ready to strangle him.
I think that unpleasantness that is seen here is just a mild form
of unpleasantness that Jesus experienced while in the belly of the
verse 6 Jonah says that he sunk "to the roots of the mountains.
It was the common consensus of the day that mountains floated on
water, thus the reason for what he says here. The
picture is of Jonah going to the bottom of the sea.
words "the earth beneath barred me in forever'.
Jonah felt eternally trapped.
He tasted what the wicked side of Hades was like.
That side of Hades is prison.
You're behind bars forever.
though Jonah is at the bottom of the sea, his faith in God is clear.
He says that God has, in past tense, lifted him from this place
says in verse 7, "when my life was ebbing away", meaning,
"when it looked like life was all over". It was then that he
turned to the Lord and looked to His Temple. Sometimes
people wait until the last moment to turn to the Lord, yet on the other
hand, when people get old, they've made up their minds long ago to not
give their lives to the Lord at the end of life, so they don't.
8 is so important. It reads,
"those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be
theirs". We know what
idols Jonah was talking about. They
were the idols made to represent the multitude of gods people worshipped
back then. We have our idols
today, whether material or spiritual.
When we give ourselves to our idols, we forfeit God's grace in
our lives. I think I can
safely say, "to the degree we have false idols in our lives is the
degree to which we forfeit God's grace in our lives".
9 is amazing. It represents
true repentance in the life of Jonah.
He is actually singing a song of praise while in the midst of
such major trouble. Now that
is repentance. That is true
faith and trust in God. Jonah
has just learned one important lesson.
says, "what I have vowed, I will make come good".
I never recommend making too many vows.
There are some that need to be made, and when we make them, we
must keep them. It is better
to not make a vow in the first place than to make it and then break it.
9 states that "salvation comes from the Lord".
Here in the depth of the fish's belly, Jonah makes another very
chapter ends with verse 10 vomiting Jonah onto dry land.
That's not a pretty sight. I
doubt if it was a pretty experience.
We've all been sick and we've all vomited before. It's not nice,
but to actually be part of that vomit; I don't think I can imagine how
bad that would be. That
being said, for Jonah, he was probably ecstatic that he was no longer in
the belly of the fish.
Jesus compared His death to Jonah's experience, we should see if there
is anything in this chapter that we could say that relates to Jesus'
death. Before I comment on
chapter 2, there is one thing in chapter 1 I should comment on.
The fact that Jonah was thrown overboard and not jumped overboard
on His own could be seen as prophetic.
Jesus was taken by the Jews and arrested and killed by the
Romans. Although He went to
the cross willingly, it was others who killed Him.
Others threw Him overboard so to speak.
verse 2 Jonah equates the belly of the fist
with Sheol. Some
believe that Jonah really did go to Sheol, and not just the belly of the
fish. We know for sure that
Jesus went to Sheol, or Hades, as it is called in the New Testament. I'm
not really convinced that Jonah actually went to Sheol.
He might have, but he
also might have simply been speaking figuratively here.
2 also says that in Jonah's distress he called out, or, cried out, to
the Lord. So did Jesus, both
in the garden and on the cross. God heard Jonah's cry and He heard
Jesus' cry, but in both instances that answer took three days to come.
The answer being a rescue from death.
like the word "hurled" in verse 3.
Both Jonah and Jesus were hurled into death.
The last few days of Jesus' life was quite a whirlwind.
He was hurled from one place to the next, ending on the cross. He
was hurled into the arms of soldiers when He was captured.
He was hurled into the Sanhedrin.
He was hurled over to the Roman soldiers and Pilate; hurled back
to the screaming crowd, and then back to Pilate, and then back to the
Roman soldiers who eventually killed Him.
You might even say that Jesus was hurled down into Hades.
3 says, "All your waves and breakers swept over me".
Again this is true with Jesus as well.
The waves of wrath swept over Jesus while on the cross, the wrath
that was rightly due to us. All,
not part, of God's wrath was poured out on Jesus because He not only was
punished for our sins, but in fact became sin for us.
4 states that Jonah was banished from God's sight, and so was Jesus.
God didn't leave Jesus while He was on the cross, but God did
turn His back on Jesus so He couldn't see Him.
God hates sin and it was too much for Him to bare to see Jesus
full of sin and being punished for sin.
Yet, in the midst of it all, Jesus like Jonah, looked towards the
word "banished" is a harsh word.
It's not a simple turning of the back.
It's a forceful removal.
verse 5 the deep surrounded Jonah as it did Jesus. Jesus visited Hades
in the depth of the earth. The deep refers to the sea.
The deep and waves in the Bible is often symbolic of God's wrath.
As Jonah was in the deep, typifying God's wrath, so was Jesus
experiencing God's wrath while on the cross.
Wave after wave after wave, God's wrath drowned Jesus.
verse 6 Jonah said, "the earth beneath barred me in forever".
While in Hades, Jesus was barred in, but not forever.
The word "barred" here portrays just what Sheol, or
Hades, is all about. It's a
place of bars, like a prison, and in New Testament times, it's a place
of no escape. Because
of these bars, Jesus had to go to Hades and release those good souls.
Matthew 27:57 through 60 tells of the event when these souls were
released and some even walked the streets of Jerusalem.
in verse 6, God brought both Jonah and Jesus back to life from the pit.
This might be in reference to the bottomless pit, which is Hades,
as seen in the book of Revelation. Again,
the word "pit" here might well be symbolic.
verse 7, when Jesus' "life was ebbing away",
He looked towards Heaven. He
never lost sight of Heaven or His Father.
I can see Jesus looking to Heaven and seeing Father God's back
instead of His face. What a
feeling that must have been, but still, Jesus did not turn from looking
towards Heaven as you and I might. Jesus
would look, look again, and look again.
He was constantly looking for His Father's back to be turned so
He could see His Father's face. What
a joy that must have been when God the Father finally turned around and
gazed on His Son.
surely didn't cling to worthless idols as seen in verse 8.
Instead, He would have sang the song of salvation as seen in
verse 9. He declared while
on the cross, "it is finished".
Salvation was paid for.
choice was Jesus' as is the same choice is ours.
Do we cling to worship idols, whatever they may be, or do we
cling to our heavenly Father?
10 states that the fish vomited Jonah out of his mouth.
If you read the gospel accounts you will see that in like fashion
Jesus was vomited out of the grave when the stone blasted from the front
of the grave.
by line, all the way through this chapter you can see how Matthew 12:39
and 40 relates to this chapter.