Jonah is a type of Christ in very many ways, but perhaps the most interesting has to do with Jesus’ payment for our sins. Jesus alludes to this, saying, “But [Jesus] answered and said unto them, an evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas; For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Look at theses few verses in Jonah,
"Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee. So they look up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging." [Jon 1:11-15]
Notice the first part which is underlined and italicized: “take me up, and cast me forth into the sea: so shall the sea be calm unto you,” and indeed after casting Jonah in, “the sea ceased from her raging.” Compare that with a promise of God in Micah,
"He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." [Mic 7:19]
We have this glorious promise in Micah that God will subdue our iniquities, casting our sins into the depths of the sea. It sounds very much like Jonah. But it sounds even more like Christ Jesus our Lord. For Paul tells us that “He hath made [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” And Jesus, being made sin for us, was thrown into the sea of God’s wrath to forever subdue God’s wrath against our sins if we accept that by faith.
That is what propitiation means. Propitiation is an atonement for wrath. Jesus’ sacrifice atoned for the wrath of The Father against our sins. Speaking of Jesus, the apostles write,
"Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood." [Rom 3:25] "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world." [1 Jn 2:2] "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." [1 Jn 4:10-11]
This propitiation is the reason why we can have peace with The Father. There is no longer any wrath against our sin. We are made blameless through the sacrifice of Jesus.
"For it pleased the Father that in [Jesus] should all fullness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel..." [Col 1:19-23]
Jonah was thrown into the sea on behalf of others in order for God’s wrath against sin to cease. Likewise, Jesus was lifted up upon the cross to propitiate for us; that is, to appease God’s wrath toward our sins, and now we have peace with The Father through Jesus. Hallelujah!
Jonah typifies Jesus in many ways, but here are just three more:
- The Father chose Jesus to die for us [Isa 53:10, Jn 18:11] and likewise The Father chose Jonah through a lot [Jon 1:7, Prov 16:33]
- Jonah was labeled as “innocent blood” by those lifting him up. Likewise was Jesus, by both Judas Iscariot and Pilate [Mt 27:4; 24].
- Jonah was forsaken by God [Jon 2:4] and so was Jesus our Christ [Mt 27:46]
We are saved by the innocent death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as typified in the real-life events of Jonah. Our salvation cannot be accomplished by anything less. It cannot be through works — similar to how the mariners attempted to empty their ships luggage but failed. It must be through the grace and choice of God, which He shows toward us in giving up His only Son for us.
Jesus Christ, the innocent Lamb of God, chosen to die for our sins before the foundation of the world, was forsaken by God Almighty on our behalf. He was thrown into God’s sea of wrath and suffered the punishment for our sins so that we could have peace with The Father. So there would be no longer a raging tempest against our sins but so that we could have peace and calm, being able to come into The Father’s presence as dear children and with freedom of speech (boldness).