by Jeff Lynn

This content is part of a series.

Where is Tarshish for You? (1 of 6)
Series: Jonah
Jeff Lynn
Jonah 1:1-3
July 17, 2011

I want to set up the characters of this story this morning and then share a few things about these three verses.

We don't have much history about Jonah.

Some have dismissed this story as a parable or a fairytale.

But Jonah was actually a person.

In 2 Kings 14:25 we read that Jonah was a prophet in Israel during the reign of Jeroboam II, in the 8th century B.C. He would have prophesied somewhere between 786 and 746 B.C.

Also, Jesus referred to Jonah when He said,
For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
Matthew 12:40-41
Some believe that there is no way for someone to stay alive in the belly of a big fish for three days and three nights.

Well, if God can raise someone from the dead after having spent three days and three nights in a tomb, certainly he can keep a man alive in the belly of a fish.

I believe that this is a real story about a real man in a real place.

But even if you happen to not believe that this is a real story, perhaps just a parable or allegory, you certainly need to grapple with what is trying to be communicated in this story.

Now, let's get a little history on Nineveh.
Nineveh was a city in Assyria located about 500 miles north and east of Galilee, which is in the northern part of Israel. It is in the northwestern portion of Iraq, about 200 miles north of Baghdad, not many miles from Syria.
(Show map)
Near the end of Jonah's life, Assyria was coming to her peak as a major super power known for its terror and power.
In the middle part of the 8th century B.C., about the time this story took place, Assyria already had a 100-year ...

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