Jonah spent three days and three nights inside a big fish. The smell would have been awful. He would have been surrounded by all kinds of disgusting things. But Jonah was grateful to be inside that fish. When Jonah was there, he prayed this prayer...
I cried out to the LORD in my great trouble, and he answered me.
I called to you from the land of the dead, and LORD, you heard me!
You threw me into the ocean depths, and I sank down to the heart of the sea.
The mighty waters engulfed me; I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves.
Then I said, 'O LORD, you have driven me from your presence.
Yet I will look once more toward your holy Temple.'
I sank beneath the waves, and the waters closed over me.
Seaweed wrapped itself around my head.
I sank down to the very roots of the mountains.
I was imprisoned in the earth, whose gates lock shut forever.
But you, O LORD my God, snatched me from the jaws of death!
As my life was slipping away, I remembered the LORD.
And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple.
Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God's mercies.
But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows.
For my salvation comes from the LORD alone. Jonah 2:2-9
Jonah was grateful to be inside the fish because the fish had saved his life. Without the fish, Jonah would have drowned. But God sent the fish so that Jonah would not die.
You see, the story of Jonah is like the story of the whole Bible. The story of Jonah begins with instructions from God...and so does the whole Bible. Then, Jonah ignores God's instructions...just like many others before him, all the way back to Adam and Eve. And ignoring God's instructions has consequences.
But those consequences are not the end of Jonah's story, and they are not the end of the story of the whole Bible, either. God sent a fish to rescue Jonah. And he sent Jesus to rescue all of us.
Read Matthew 12:40
In this verse, Jesus talks about something else that links his story (the big story of the Bible) with the story of Jonah. What does he say?
In the early church, people used a fish symbol to identify themselves as followers of Jesus. This symbol is still used today. Create your own artwork using this symbol, remembering how Jesus saves us just like the fish saved Jonah.
Draw a small fish symbol on your hand each day this week. Each time you look at it, remember that Jesus has saved you!