It has been said that Jonah is a "type of Christ." It's something I'm learning a thing or two about, for Joshua (Moses protégé) is also considered to be a "type of Christ."
Jesus also makes mention of the Jonah when He referred to the well-known incident when Jonah was in the belly of the beast.
I came across a passage that startled me as I was in the Word of God. In the book of Mark in chapter 4, it talks about how Christ and the 12 get on a ship as they are heading towards the land of the Gadarenes. A storm begins and at first the 12 are at peace because they have Christ with them, but then the water starts getting in the ship and this causes them to panic. They rush to wake up Jesus and say to Him, "HELLO!! Do you not care that your people are about to perish?" (Paraphrasing). The Lord was laid out.. Pillow and all. I can only imagine how tired He was, after all the multitudes sought after Him as He preached from city-to-city. So Jesus wakes up and tells the storm.. "Peace, be still." This leaves the disciples in utter amazement; they begin to glorify Him in reverential fear. They feared the storm, but they grew to fear the One who told the storm to be quiet.
How does this compare to the story with Jonah you ask?
Let's do a brief recap on the man we know as Jonah: he was a prophet of God, called by Him to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh; and let's just say He wasn't happy about that. So he gets on a different ship heading in a separate direction.
As he lay on the bottom of the ship sleeping (as Jesus was); a storm begins. This storm was sent by God to retrieve Jonah but He was oblivious to what was going on. The other passengers on the ship went to wake him up, to warn him of the impeding danger. They get to the upper part of the ship where they cast lots to determine the cause of the storm; and sure enough they fell on Jonah. He took responsibility for everything; they prayed to God and obliged to Jonah's omission to throw him off the ship. The prophet told the unbelievers what kind of God he served.. Once this took place, the storm ceased. Mind you.. These passengers prayed to other gods. The Bible doesn't say these people converted to Jehovah, but they were able to see His authority over nature.
This really makes me wonder, did Jesus send the storm so He may find faith in His followers? I sincerely believe so. The question I'm led to ask is this: What storms are in your life today? So many of us as people (myself included) get so caught up in the storms of life that we forget to seek after the One who has the power to say, "Peace, Be still!"
I wholeheartedly believe that God wants to find genuine faith in His people. Jesus says so in (Luke 18:8) "When the Son of Man returns, will I find faith in the earth?" God wants to make a Believer out of you! It's easy to have a profession of faith when all is well in life, when you have that car, job, home, and your health; but what will happen when the storms of life suddenly hit your house? we tend to panic and get distraught when struggles reach our doorstep. Will He find faith then? Will He still be Jehovah-Jireh when we have little, or is He only good when you have good and plenty. I am convinced that many of us as self-professing Christians have the appearance of godliness all the way down from head-to-toe; but very few have faith. Paul himself admonished Timothy to spread the Gospel to a faithful what? Few.
In The Lord's goodness and mercy, He doesn't want to leave you that way; so that's why our faith has to be tested. One thing I learn from being acclimated with the street life: it's easy to rock the colors, know the handshake, and even hang around with a few real thugs; but your allegiance has to be shown and proven! If you're not out in the field when it's war time or if you're always MIA when drama kicks off, your allegiance will be tested. Some crews out there require you to get tattooed and even kill somebody, some will require you to get stomped out, but at least they know you're down. Jesus Christ wants some people that are down with Him.
How many of you know that Jesus had more than 12 disciples? The multitudes followed Him, out of the multitudes He only ordained 12, and out of the 12 He only kept three with Him.. Peter, James, John; the only three who beheld His true glory, when He was transfigured on the mountain!!
God wants us to have faith! You cannot muster it up in yourself and say: "I'm going be faithful" cause as people we are as fickle as they come, but The Lord will see to it that the work He has started in you, He will complete it! Faith is a gift from God! It is absolutely impossible to walk this walk and live this life as a Christian, without the very power of the Christ, the Holy Spirit dwelling within you!
One thing about storms. We all have them! Some of us may be in the red in finances, some are having marital issues, some folk are sick right now; storms hit everybody! Jesus said so in Luke 6:46, when He talked about the wise and foolish builders. The difference between the wise and foolish builder was simply this: one took The Lord for His word, and others just knew His word but it didn't mean much to them. One thing I'm constantly learning in this walk with Christ is this: scriptural knowledge profits some, but knowledge of the Holy One is what counts. It is not enough to just know the Word, we must be doers of the Word.