Church Write-Up: Jonah, Part 2

Here are some items from church this morning. We are going through Jonah.

A. The pastor compared the story of Jonah to baptism. Baptism is about the drowning of the old, sinful self and the emergence of a new self. Jonah, at the beginning of the story, was sinful and selfish. He flees from God, which is arrogant on his part. When a storm hits the ship he is on, he turns inward and falls asleep at the bottom of the boat, wanting to escape other people. But Jonah changes in the course of the book. He becomes concerned about his shipmates and even sacrifices himself for them. He tells them that throwing him overboard can calm the storm and save their lives. This was a risk on his part. Jonah probably did not know how to swim, since most Israelites did not live near the sea. Jonah, consequently, realized that he may die, even though he hoped God would rescue him. And, after the fish vomits him out, Jonah resolves to obey what God has called him to do.

B. A few of us were talking this morning about what creature swallowed Jonah. Was it a whale? A fish? The pastor said that he thinks God specifically created that great fish for Jonah. Someone else said that, if it was not a whale, what could it have been? Personally, I doubt that the author of Jonah distinguished between a whale and a fish; we know that whales are mammals and are not fish, but, as far as they were concerned, whales looked like fish and thus could be classified as fish. Similarly, Leviticus 11:19 lists bats among the birds because, like birds, bats have wings and fly; we know, though, that bats are not birds.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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