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Jonah 2

Verses 1-10

Jonah 1-4

Jonah buried and risen a type of Christ.

I. More than once in the course of our Lord's ministry, among different persons and for different objects, He makes use of the similitude of the prophet's burial and resurrection. When the Jews asked for a sign He refused it, (i) because it was presumptuous to ask it; (ii) because they were blind to actual signs already given and constantly existing before their eyes; (iii) because the very demand was a proof of deep ungodliness, and the concession of it would have been a premium on religious disloyalty and impiety. No sign should be given them except the sign of the prophet Jonah, the very opposite to what they sought. They asked it from above. It should be from below. They asked that it might be glorious. It should be, according to the carnal judgment, ignominious. It should be from a dark sea of trouble, not from a firmament of brightness. It should be tempest, sorrow, death, burial; not sunshine, victory, enthronement.

II. Such we understand to be the meaning of our Lord's language in the comparison between Himself and Jonah. It is a comparison resting chiefly on the resemblance in humiliation that of Jonah and that of Jesus. The general resemblance is apparent to anyone. Jonah was in the heart of the sea; Jesus was in the heart of the earth. Jonah was in the "belly of hell," or the grave, or Hades; Jesus was actually traversing, living, in the invisible world, and acquiring thus His right to hold the keys. Jonah was there in punishment of his sin; Jesus (Himself sinless) was slain and consigned to the darksome grave by the sins of the world, which He bore and expiated on the Cross. Jonah was three days and three nights in his living grave; Jesus was the same time dead and buried. Jonah was restored to light and life; Jesus was "declared to be the Son of God, with power, by the resurrection from the dead."

A. Raleigh, The Story of Jonah, p. 169.

Verse 4

John 2:4

Hindrances and aids to prayer.

I. Prayer is founded on knowledge and prayer is prompted by desire. If then for knowledge there be error, and if instead of desire there be coldness, then is prayer hindered. It cannot be denied that we are all prone to error as to God's character and mind towards us. A wrong idea of God, of His character as unlovely, or of His mind as unloving towards us, is one chief impediment to the work of prayer. The other is a wrong feeling towards Him. Not misconception, not error, but (in the plainest sense of the words) some form or other of sin.

II. Whatever makes us know God better, and love Him more, will be an aid and help to prayer. (i) It is one chief office of the Bible to assist prayer by revealing God. Look upon it as you look upon visiting one who is to you as your own soul; an opportunity of increased knowledge, which increase of knowledge is evermore also an increase of love. (ii) Thus will it be also with the hearing of the Word in public. "Praying's the end of preaching." The value of each particular sermon may be estimated, not by the beauty of its language, and not by the power of its argument, but by this question rather, Did it make me pray? (iii) Another of the aids to prayer is what we term comprehensively the discipline of life. (iv) The chiefest of the helps to prayer is prayer.

Pray once, and you will pray again. Fray as you can today to-morrow you shall pray better.

C. J. Vaughan, Voices of the Prophets, p. 177.

References: John 2:4 . Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxx., No. 1813 John 1:2 :8 . J. Duncan, The Pulpit and Communion Table, p. 307. John 2:9 . Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iii., No. 131; Ibid., Morning by Morning, p. 57. John 2:10 . A. Watson, Sermons for Sundays: Festivals and Fasts, 3rd series, p. 399.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Jonah 2". "Sermon Bible Commentary".