Jonah 2:10 (ESV) And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.
Matthew 12:38-42 (ESV) Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.
What in the world do Jonah, fish, and fish vomit have to do with Advent? Well, kind of everything!
Jonah the prophet teaches some truths about the nature and character of God. We learn that the Lord is merciful toward sinners who do not know him, and that he delights to send a bearer of good news to make himself known. We learn that the Lord will save all who turn to him in repentant faith. We learn that the Lord sends prophets to tell the good news.
Jonah the prophet teaches some truths about humans and prophets. We learn that God uses prophets to tell the good news. We learn that the good news is more than just good actions and that the good news is a message about who God is and what he has done to save sinners. We learn that prophets can sometimes resist God’s instructions. We learn that God disciplines his people who disobey and that it always goes better if his people will obey him.
Jonah also prepares our hearts for the Advent of THE Prophet, Priest, and King who would fulfill all things. God so directs history that he would send a prophet, allow him to disobey, resurrect him from the consequences of his actions, and send him on mission in order to prepare us to see his work to save mankind and fulfill his word from all the way back in Genesis 3:15.
How do we know this? The Lord Jesus himself, speaking about the good news mission of God the Father through Jonah, says that no sign would be given to his generation except the sign of Jonah. What is the sign of Jonah?
That sign is Jonah, the bearer of good news receives righteous punishment for sin through death and then resurrection back to life in order to make a way for the powerful good news to go to others who otherwise might not know.
Jonah prepares us to see the Lord’s work when Jesus comes and unlike Jonah, he is perfect and holy, takes on the sin of the world in an act of divine substitution, is killed, buried away from the world, and is raised to life in order that others who might not get to know, would know of the way to life through the substitutionary work of Jesus.
Advent. Jesus comes and fulfills prophetic words and actions such as Jonah, in order that we might be saved.