September 25, 2016 -
“THE STUGGLES OF THE PROPHET JONAH”
Some Biblical scholars believe that Jonah was the son of the widow in Zarepheth who the prophet Elias brought back to life. Called by the Lord to go to the pagan city of Ninevah and demand that they repent for their wicked ways, a frightened Jonah disobeyed the voice of God and boarded a ship headed elsewhere. While at sea, a fierce storm arose and threatened the ship and its passengers with destruction. The superstitious crew decided to cast lots to determine who was responsible for this impending calamity. When the lots fell on Jonah, he was forced to confess his sinful behavior. “Cast me into the sea,” he lamented, “and the waters shall be calm.”
Jonah was thrown overboard and, true to his prediction, the storm ceased immediately! But Jonah’s adventure was just beginning! By the will of God, a whale swallowed the Prophet Alive! He spent three days in the belly of the whale, where he prayed constantly for forgiveness and deliverance. After three days had passed, Jonah was spit up by the whale and washed onto the shore. The Church has always viewed this incident as a prefigurement of Christ’s three-day burial and Resurrection.
After this harrowing experience, Jonah obediently went to Ninevah to fulfill God’s command to him. He warned the inhabitants that the wrath of God would be upon them if they failed to heed his words. After a period of prayer and fasting, they were forgiven and found favor with the Lord.