We use cookies to collect general visitor statistics but not personal information. Privacy policy

Jonah and the big fish

God teaches Jonah about obedience and forgiveness.
Contributed by Sue Bentley
Story also available on our translated websites: Portuguese, Hindi
Once there was a man called Jonah. He was a prophet, which means he gave messages from God to people. One day God told him to go to the city of Nineveh and tell them to stop doing really bad things or God would have to punish them. – Slide 1
But Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh. He did not like the people there and wanted God to punish them not forgive them. So he ran away to the town of Joppa by the seaside. He saw a ship going to a far away place and decided to buy a ticket and get on it. He thought God would not be able to find him there. – Slide 2
When Jonah got onto the ship he was feeling very tired and he decided to go straight to sleep. He didn’t know it but up above on the deck a terrible storm had begun. – Slide 3
A great wind was blowing the ship around on the waves and it was about to be broken into pieces. The captain and his men were throwing things into the sea to try and stop the boat from sinking but it wasn’t working. – Slide 4
All the men were praying to their gods when the Captain noticed Jonah was still sleeping. He woke him and told him to pray to his God for help. Jonah explained the storm was his fault. God had sent it to stop Jonah from running away. ‘If you throw me overboard,’ Jonah said, ‘the storm will stop.’ The men did not want to do this and kept trying to save the ship from sinking. – Slide 5
The storm became worse and worse until finally the captain and his men decided to throw Jonah into the water. They asked God to forgive them and then tossed him overboard. Immediately the sea became calm and the men thanked God. Meanwhile Jonah sank deeper and deeper into the water but God had prepared a big fish to find him and swallow him up. – Slide 6
Jonah was now inside the belly of the fish. He began to thank God for saving him from drowning in the sea. He realised it was silly to try and run away from God. – Slide 7
Jonah stayed inside the fish for 3 days and 3 nights then God told the fish to give a big cough and Jonah shot out of its mouth and onto dry land. He was very happy to be out of the fish! – Slide 8
God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and tell the people to stop being bad. So this time Jonah did as he was told and when he arrived at the city he began to tell all the men, women and children God was very sad about all the bad things they were doing. The people were very upset when they heard Jonah’s words and soon everyone, including the king, prayed to God and said they were sorry. – Slide 9
God was very glad to forgive them but this made Jonah so angry. He didn’t think they should be forgiven. He sat outside of the city and hoped God would change His mind and punish them. While Jonah was waiting it became very hot so God made a nice plant with big green leaves grow up and stop the sun from burning Jonah. It made Jonah very happy. – Slide 10
But the next day God sent a worm to gobble up the plant. Then the sun beat down on Jonah’s head and he became hot and sweaty and most unhappy. He sulked and wished he could die. – Slide 11
Then God spoke to him. ‘You are sad, Jonah, about the plant which shrivelled up but you did not make it or look after it. The people of Nineveh are much more important than a plant. I love all of them, even their animals and I will show them my love and forgiveness.’ – Slide 12
Slide 13