Jonah – A Type of Christ

Many are the similitudes and contrasts between type and Antitype. In the type light and shade alternate amazingly; in the Antitype we have one course of light.

Chapter 1

Jonah was sent of God, but he did not delight in God's will and way. JESUS WAS GREATER THAN JONAH in this, for He not only delighted in speaking of Himself as God's Sent One, but the will and ways of God were His life and pleasure. "I do always the things that please Him," He said.

Chapter 2

Jonah went down into the depths of judgment, in figure, because of his disobedience, the result of which was that the storm abated its fury, peace and salvation came to the mariners and they feared the Lord and acknowledged His claims over them. JESUS WAS GREATER THAN JONAH in this, for by one obedience (Rom. 5:19) which involved Him in being delivered for our offences, He went in reality into the depths of death and judgment, whereby peace and salvation have come to us who were storm-tossed mariners upon the sea of life, before whom nothing but destruction loomed. Now we fear the Lord, for with Him is forgiveness, and we own His claims, for the love that sent His Son to die has won our hearts for ever. The goodness of God has led us to repentance.

Chapter 3

Raised from the dead, in figure, Jonah became God's sign and witness to a Gentile city which repented immediately of its sins and turned to God. JESUS IS GREATER THAN JONAH in this, for through His suffering and resurrection repentance and remission of sins are preached in His name, not to one nation only, but among all nations (Luke 24:47), and God "now commandeth all men everywhere to repent, because He hath appointed a day in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained: whereof He hath given assurance unto all men in that He hath raised Him from the dead" (Acts 17:30-31).

Chapter 4

The witness that Jonah bore in his own person, apart from his message of coming doom, was that God's judgment must fall inevitably upon disobedience to His commands, but that He is "a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness."

This was really the testimony that Peter gave in the name of the Lord to the first Gentile company that ever heard the gospel since the resurrection of Christ. He had commanded them to teach and to testify that it is He which is ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead, but meanwhile there was mercy and grace offered to all. How MUCH GREATER IS THE LORD JESUS than Jonah in this. He, the obedient One, was made sin for the disobedient, bearing their judgment to the uttermost, and being raised from the dead, judgment is put into His hand, who is the only righteous One, but meanwhile He is the channel of mercy for whosoever believes in Him.

When Nineveh was spared Jonah retired disgruntled and angry from it with no responsive pulse in his heart to God's great mercy. He cared only for His own reputation as a prophet, or perhaps for the well-being of his nation, whose chief foe that Gentile city was. In either case his heart was narrow and his thoughts selfish. Why could he not have believed that having repented towards God these Ninevites would bring forth works meet for repentance, and oppress his nation no more? Again we turn with relief to THE GREATER THAN JONAH, who, as the Good Shepherd, goes after the lost sheep (the wandering Gentile) until He finds it, and having found it lays it on His shoulders rejoicing with so great a joy that friends and neighbours are summoned to share it. There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. Jonah knew nothing of this, but this is the heart of God made known in Jesus.

The sign of Jonah given to that evil generation to which Jesus was presented meant that His testimony would go out to the Gentiles and they would believe it.

For ourselves Jonah is a humbling and searching sign, reminding us that they "that are in the flesh cannot please God." Adam's race is the disobedient race, and condemnation and death lie upon each member of it in consequence. Death has passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Is there no way of deliverance, then? Yes. "One died for all," and that One was the righteous One. God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin condemned sin in the flesh. A solemn lesson to learn, but the way of liberty for us. Now Christ is raised from the dead and has become the Head of a new race, not now in Adam but in Christ. Obedience, justification and life are characteristic of that race. Christ instead of self is the object of the hearts of all who belong to this new race.