Jonah was dead to his own will inside the whale. This resistant prophet came to obedience through death. In the whale, Jonah was in the will of Another. And in the same way, when we are in Christ, we’re swallowed up into Him so that His resurrected Life will flow. Our life is no more, we have been subsumed into Another’s Life and Will.
Jesus replied, “Only evil people who are unfaithful to God would demand a sign. There will be no sign given to you except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Matthew 12:39 TPT
Jonah Being in the Whale
This is the only way to get clear of self-will. Not effort or intention but death. The old nature is not redeemable; it is 100% corrupt and always will be. It’s only our life that is able to be saved as we are crucified with Christ.
My only boast is in the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus, our Messiah. In Him I have been crucified to this natural realm; and the natural realm is dead to me and no longer dominates my life.
Galatians 6:14 TPT
Death is inevitable. We will all die. Nature displays this before us seasonally and circumstantially. It is not whether we die; it is when, how, and to what end. So if we are all going to die, don’t we want to appropriate that death wisely? My choice is whether I die a living death for Christ or die to my destiny in self-will. Again, I am going to die regardless, so I might as well make it count and reap the maximum benefits. If I die on my personal cross, I am rewarded with Christ’s Life; if I die through avoidance of God’s Will, I lose everything. One is saving my life and losing it, the other is losing my life to save it.
Being in Christ
Why would Christ align Himself in Matthew with a willful prophet named Jonah? Because of the amazing miracle and nature of the human will. First, Jesus was speaking to a willful bunch of people when He referenced Jonah. Will was the issue: God’s Will versus our will. Christ addressed their issue with an example of the same thing. The will must DIE.
In Gethsemane, Jesus had to bow His will to the Will of the Father. He didn’t want to drink the cup. “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will… My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done” (Matthew 12:39, 42). And when Jesus submitted His will to the Will of the Father, He was swallowed up into death. This was the Will of the Father.
God’s Control of Jonah
Jonah, too, had a dealing with God’s will. He refused to go where the Father sent him. But God arranged his surrender to be enacted inside a fish. Jonah was also swallowed up into death. Both Jonah and Jesus had to face down their wills over the Will of the Father.
Now the connection made with each of us is that we all have to choose to be swallowed up into death. We have to lose our lives and live for Another’s Will. The amazing miracle of Jonah is not only a sign for Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection but also ours. We each have to plunge beneath the surface of the waters and be subsumed into death—the death of our will.
The sign of Jonah is the sign of losing one’s life for the Will of the Father. It is being swallowed up into Another’s being to experience that other One’s Life. The whale is our passage from our own willful existence into Christ’s glorious Life.