“The story of Jonah and the whale? — that’s a hard one to ‘swallow’”. So says the sceptic. And, as Bible believers, we have been forced to go on the defensive.
Some have laboured long and hard to prove that a whale really could swallow a man. You may have seen articles which cited historical accounts of men who have experienced similar things. One such report is found in the April 4, 1896, edition of Literary Digest. It tells of one, James Bartley, who was swallowed by a whale and lived for a day and a half before being rescued.
While accounts such as this may be interesting, they really are unnecessary. We don’t need them in order to believe what the Bible says about Jonah. What happened there was a miracle. The Scripture says that “the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah” (Jonah 1:17).
Whether or not an ordinary whale could accomplish such a feat, and whether or not a man under normal circumstances could survive as Jonah did, does not matter. In this case, God was involved. And, if we believe in an all-powerful God, this should be no harder to accept than any other miracle taught in the Bible.
But, there’s yet another way to look at this subject. Jesus provides more evidence for the case. In Matthew 12:40, He said,
“As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Jesus staked His credibility to the accuracy of the story about Jonah.
That being so, then all the evidence concerning Jesus — His miracles, His resurrection, etc. — can also be used to support the account of Jonah and the whale. It really happened. Jesus said so, and that settles it!