Jonas the prophet
Jonah the prophet
Jonah the prophet was mentioned in two places in the Old Testament:
- The book of Jonah
- His name has been registered too in the kings of the sons of Israel where we read his biography in (2 kings 14: 25). In the same book we hear and read his father’s name and the place of his residence. We also get informed about who the king, who ruled at that time, was.
In the New Testament:
In the dialogue of the Lord Jesus Christ with the Pharisees: “A bad generation that asks for a sign, but it is only given the sign of Jonah the prophet. For as Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights, so will the son of man be inside the earth for three days and nights”(Mathew 12:39-40).
- “The men of Nineveh will rise in judgment with this generation, and will judge it, because they repented by the call of Jonah. And here is the one who is greater than Jonah”(Mathew 12 :41).
St. Cyril of Jerusalem on Jonah:
St. Cyril of Jerusalem sees that the Lord Jesus Christ refused to give a sign to them (to the Jews), because they asked for it cunningly and maliciously, for he had given them earlier many signs, but they accused him of doing things by the chief of the devils and by whom he would exorcize evil spirits too. That is why they did not deserve to enjoy his signs. He also says in: ”………….”( Hosh. 5:6).
That is why he did not desire to offer them another sign, for he does not give the holy things to dogs, and does not throw down the precious gems to the pigs”, for how do those deserve those who have shown defamations and calumnies once on miracles that have been made, to enjoy the vision of other miracles…?
That is why he said to them that no sign would be given to them except that of Jonah which means crucifixion and the resurrection from the dead. In that we see that the Lord wanted to assure that signs are not mere demonstrations; they are divine acts realized by the Lord Jesus Christ whose purpose is the salvation of mankind.
On the other hand the connection between Jonah and the Lord Jesus Christ is but the connection between the symbol and that which is symbolized.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem continues saying:” Jonah had been thrown into the belly of the whale, yet the Lord Jesus Christ went down willingly to where the whale of death which is invisible, so as to force it to throw up those who had been swallowed by him, as it is written:” from the hands of the abyss I redeem them, and from death I save them.”
St. Basil the Great on the prophet Jonah:
St. Basil the Great says: “He gave them a sign, but not from heaven, for they did not deserve to see a heavenly one, it was rather from the depth of hell. By that I mean the sign of his incarnation, his theology, passions, and glorification through resurrecting from the dead after entering the Hades, to set free those who had died with the hope of rising again.
St. Ambrose of Milan on Jonah:
St, Ambrose of Milan says: “the sign of Jonah stands for the passions of our Lord Jesus Christ. At the same time it is a testimony against the sins of the Jews they had committed.
By the people of Nineveh he points to punishment (for the Jews offer passions to the Lord). At the same time mercy, for the Jews that they will not fall in despair because of not being forgiven, provided that they repent of their wrongdoings.
The people of Nineveh enjoyed Jonah the preacher who came from the belly of the whale, but we do enjoy the real Jonah who is able to set us free from the depth of the abyss, and lead us into the kingdom of heaven.
“Here is the one who is greater than Jonah.”
We also have got the one who is greater than Solomon himself, for he does not speak or utter only words of wisdom, but can also expel the kingdom of the evil one, from us.
The Lord’s statement does not only confirm the reality of Jonah, but also the reality of his going into the belly of the whale, as a symbol of his burial and his resurrection. And the Lord Jesus Christ mentioned him when he was rebuking the Jews:
“The people of Nineveh will be raised on the final day with this generation, and will judge it, because they repented by the preaching that Jonah launched (Mathew 12:41).
Behold amidst us the one who is greater than Jonah, for he attracted the people of Nineveh to repentance. He is even greater than Solomon to whom came the queen of Yemen from far off, to hear his wisdom.
Behold amidst us the creator of Jonah and the creator of the people of Nineveh, and the creator of Solomon and the whole world too.
He is the incarnate God who came to us to prepare us for his kingdom.