Summary: Series in Jonah
Title: Two Pictures of Salvation
Jonah 2:1-10 Jonah 2:1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the stomach of the fish, 2 and he said, "I called out of my distress to the LORD, And He answered me. I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; You heard my voice. 3 "For You had cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the current engulfed me. All Your breakers and billows passed over me. 4 "So I said, ’I have been expelled from Your sight. Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.’ 5 "Water encompassed me to the point of death. The great deep engulfed me, Weeds were wrapped around my head. 6 "I descended to the roots of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever, But You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God. 7 "While I was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, And my prayer came to You, Into Your holy temple. 8 "Those who regard vain idols Forsake their faithfulness, 9 But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the LORD." 10 Then the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.
Matthew 12:38-41 38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You." 39 But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; 40 for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 "The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
1) Two Pictures of Salvation
I. The Salvation of Jonah
i. From Death
ii. From Sin
iii. From Himself
II. Salvation Through Jesus
i. From Death
ii. From Sin
iii. From Ourselves
In our culture we use animals to symbolize important qualities or to identify certain organizations. Whenever we see these animals they bring to mind certain character traits. Let me give you a few examples…
- Eagle- In our country the eagle is a symbol of freedom.
- Dove- The dove is the symbol of What? Peace.
- Lion- The lion is often used as a symbol of bravery or strength.
- Donkey- Here is the symbol for the Democratic party.
- Elephant- and the one for the Republicans.
- Fish- This fish has been a symbol of Christianity for hundreds of years. I’m sure that most of you have seen this symbol, and some of you probably have one on your car right now. It is known as the Jesus fish or the Ichthus fish. In Greek Ichthus simply means fish. But it is also an acrostic. Each letter stands for something.
I- Iota is the first letter of Iesous (Ἰησοῦς), Greek for Jesus.
X- Chi is the first letter of Christos (Χριστóς), Greek for Christ.
Θ- Theta is the first letter of Theou (Θεοῦ), Greek for of God.
Y- Upsilon is the first letter of Huios (Υἱός), Greek for Son.
Σ- Sigma is the first letter of Soter (Σωτήρ), Greek for Savior.
So now you know why a stick figure fish is the symbol for Christianity. Now you can impress your friends with your extensive knowledge of the Greek language and church history. Apparently this symbol was used early on in Christianity as a secret identification marker.
Using animals to symbolically teach us things or remind us of things is not something new. As we will see today, the story of Jonah and the whale are a symbol of salvation. Obviously the whale, or the big fish, served as salvation from drowning for Jonah. But we will also see how Jesus identifies His own work of salvation with Jonah and the fish.
We see these two illustrations of salvation. Each picture tells us something about how God works and how we need to respond. We will continue on into chapter 2 of the book of Jonah and talk about the salvation of Jonah, and then look over at a passage in Matthew 12 and talk about salvation through Jesus.
Let’s start by taking a look at chapter 2 of Jonah. Please turn there in your Bibles. Again, it is a small book and easy to miss, it is in the OT, right between Obadiah and Micah.