Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish, saying,
“I called to the LORD, out of my distress,
and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
and thou didst hear my voice.”
“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). Jonah went down into the belly of the beast and lived to tell the tale. Jesus went down into the belly of the far more monstrous Beast called Death and lived to tell the tale too. Jonah went unwillingly and full of bitterness at God for asking him to call enemies to salvation. Jesus went freely and with a heart full of love for those who hated and betrayed him. Jonah discovered God desires the salvation, even of those who rebel against him. Jesus revealed that salvation in its fullness. In him, the little unwitting Christ-icon who was Jonah discovers the truth of the Passion: “God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Romans 5:8-10).