Some believe that the Bible story of Jonah in the Old Testament is just a “fish story.” The story of Jonah is not like your uncle’s “fish story.”
Jonah was a real prophet who lived in Israel in the year 755 BC. Jesus referred to Jonah to explain how long He would be in the grave. Matthew 12:38-41 states, “Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, ‘Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.’ He answered, ‘A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’”
Is it possible for a fish to swallow a man? Yes, there have been many reports of men swallowed by both whales and sharks over the years. Smith’s Bible Dictionary reports, “The whole body of a man in armor has been found in the stomach of a white shark. Blumenbach mentions that a whole horse has been found in a shark, and Captain Basil Hall reports the taking of one in which, besides other things, he found the whole skin of a buffalo which a short time before had been thrown overboard from his ship.
Oceansonline.com states, “There is no doubt that great whites can swallow huge prey. In July 1976, a Los Angeles fisherman caught a 16-foot white shark that “contained the bodies of two whole sea lions, one weighing 175 pounds and the other 125 pounds.” In 1954, the body of a 13-year-old boy was apparently found in the stomach of a great white caught off Nagasaki.
Thus, it is more possible that the “fish” that swallowed Jonah was a great white shark and not the supposed whale. Great whites can be found in the Mediterranean Sea, but sperm whales cannot.
Jesus uses the story of Jonah in the belly of the huge fish to teach us that He would be three days in the heart of the earth before He resurrected on that glorious morning.