Summary: Jesus makes a connection to Jonah and his "sign" to the people. The connection appears when he and the disciples cross the Sea of Galilee and face the storm before he cast out the Legion of demons from the possessed man.
1. Swallowed by Whale
In the late winter of 1891, the whale-ship 'Star of the East' was in the area of the Falkland Islands when it sighted a whale. Two boats were sent out with harpoons to catch and kill the creature. But the whale's lashing tail overturned one of the boats spilling the crew into the sea. All were finally hauled back on board ship except for one sailor, James Bartley.
The whale was eventually killed and its body drawn aboard the ship to begin the process of stripping its valuable resources. The sailors were startled by what appeared to be signs of life inside the stomach lining. Cutting the whale open the sailors found the missing James Bartley!
Bartley was quite insane for two weeks, but when he recovered his senses he told what he remembered of being dragged under the water. While struggling for his life he had been drawn into darkness and felt a terrible and oppressive heat. Reaching out his hand he felt slimy walls that gave slightly to his touch, but he couldn't find any exit. When it finally dawned on him what most likely had happened he lost his senses and lapsed into a catatonic state.
During his time inside the whale Bartley's face, neck and hands were bleached deathly white by gastric juices and the texture of his skin was like parchment. He never recovered from this effect. Bartley believed that he would have likely lived inside the whale until he starved to death, as he did not find breathing a problem.
Reports do suggest that this whole story is nothing more than an early urban legend. But whether it's true or not, we know that there has been at least one man in the world who has truly gone through such an amazing experience and lived -- and that man is Jonah!
2. Jesus connected to the sign of Jonah -- Matthew 12.38-40
3. In Mark 4.35-41 we see a connection
I. A Matter of Mission
The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, 3 and many peoples shall come, and say: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
1. Some took it seriously -- Matthew 23.15
2. Some/Jonah -- did not -- sent to Nineveh, Assyria
[How would you respond to "Preach repentance to ISIS?
a. Jonah afraid of being beheaded?
b. Did Jonah not trust God? -- He knew God would forgive; he wanted destruction
c. Jonah dropped the ball because his heart was different than God's
B. Jesus' Mission -- Same -- John 8.12
2. Decapolis -- "Other Side" -- was a pagan center
3. With valuable people -- Isaiah 65.8
Thus says the LORD: "As the new wine is found in the cluster, and they say, 'Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it,' so I will do for my servants' sake, and not destroy them all.
4. Jesus faithfully completed his mission (Jonah reluctantly)
a. He had/was God's heart
b. Desires salvation for all -- 2 Peter 3.9
C. Our Mission -- Same -- Matthew 5.14
1. God partners with us
2. Sends us to stormy places
II. A Confrontation of Chaos (Mark 4.35-41
A. Purposes in the Storms
1. Jonah's Storm:
a. From God
b. For Repentance -- to get Jonah back on Mission
c. Reluctant change
2. Jesus' Storm
a. From the Adversary -- disrupt the mission; prevent repentance of hearers
b. To produce a change in direction and return to safety
c. Jesus prevailed
B. Some Similarities in the Storms
1. Presence of Chaos in Both
2. Sleeping in the Storms [Old USN -- crew slept in hammocks
3. Fear in Both
a. Fear of Jonah's sailors and Jesus' disciples
b. Reactions: Lighten load (gift to gods); call on gods/God; Call on Jesus
c. Seas and Fears calm
4. God did not give up on the missions