The ship climbed and toppled over waves. Rain beat on the floor boards of the deck and lightning danced circles around the boat. Thunder rattled down to depths of the vessel, where the prophet was happily passed out. The other men cried out to their gods and threw the ship’s cargo into the sea, a clear demonstration of their immense faith.
Finally, somebody realized that Jonah wasn’t anywhere to be seen. They found him in the ship’s hold, woke him and yelled at him for sleeping through such calamity and demanded that he call out to his god. The storm got worse and the men became more desperate. They threw dice to see who had brought trouble to their part of the ocean. When the signs pointed at Jonah, he was forced to tell his story.
The rogue Hebrew prophet was fleeing from the only God he knew to be alive. He didn’t want the others to die because of his rebelliousness, so Jonah offered to be thrown into the sea as an attempt to save the lives of the others. They tossed him in. The storm stopped and the water calmed. The men trusted Yahweh as a result. Jonah on the other hand, was promptly swallowed by a giant fish.
Fish smell terrible enough from the outside. The prophet got lodged in this fish’s stomach where he wasn’t really digested, but at the same time, he wasn’t not in the process, either. It was dark and everything smelled like crap. Traveling in the digestive track of a fish provided plenty of opportunities for motion sickness. Jonah was miserable.
The fish was making its way across the ocean- it had a destination. I bet Jonah knew what Yahweh was up to. I imagine he even talked to the fish, begging it not to go toward Nineveh. I would surmise that the prophet possibly even tried to kill it by pulling on whatever organs he happened to be closest to. I bet that Jonah threw multiple tantrums in the belly of the fish because even though he was a god-man, he was also a grumpy ho. He might have been having a hard time, but I bet his “ride” wasn’t loving life or this task either.
Finally exhausted from not sleeping, eating, throwing up and being kind of partially digested, the prophet called out to God. No other person could hear him. He was encompassed by millions of gallons of water, surrounded by the freshest sashimi he had ever seen and was completely alone. Regardless, God heard his man and by that time, they had drawn near to the city of the temple of Dagon.
Jesus compared His three-day journey to Jonah’s.
Clearly, the circumstances were different, as were the personalities involved but the results would be similar. Both had awful experiences (a ridiculous understatement). Neither would be seen for three days but it seems that each knew where they were going and what they had to do. Both men understood that their task meant life and death for a whole lot of people.