Friday, July 29, 2005

Fish Part Part II: The Jesus Fish

Since I love more than one kind of fish I thought I should write more than one "Fish Part" post. I almost said fish fart post. That would be completely different. Maybe another day.

Less smelly than the fish that swim is the fish symbol that represents Jesus, or Christianity, or maybe both. The Greek letters that stand for "Jesus Christ God's Son, Savior" written as an acronym or anacronym or whatever it is that means the first letter of each word makes another word, means "Fish" in Greek. Some people call it a Jesus-fish. I think it looks like IXOTE, or maybe IXOYE but I think it's probably ok to call it an Ixote-fish (heh heh). English must be a more efficient language because we can spell it using only 4 letters, whereas the Greeks take 5. They need to upgrade. But also it has a double meaning, since Jesus called His followers to be "fishers of men". He must have known we'd be using that symbol some day.

I can think of several ways to interpret the symbolism there. One would be that since in the bible, water is often a symbol of God's judgement, Jesus would be the Fisherman who pulls us from the Lake of Judgement that we were born into, and spend our whole lives in, and even are condemned to spend eternity in if not saved from it. Hey I just thought of something- in the book of Revelation, the Dragon (Satan) is cast into the "lake of fire". That fits nicely into this interpretation. This might be a good place to stop for a second because I want to explain something.

An awful lot of people (probably most) think that God sends people to hell as a punishment for something they did, like "You're gonna burn in Hell for that you loser!" Or maybe less drastic, "He's probably in Hell right now because he committed suicide, and therefore didn't have a chance to ask for forgiveness of that sin". Or probably one of the most commonly cited, "Adolf Hitler is burning for what he did". There's something in me that hopes Hitler really is burning for what he did. To the earthly man, it would seem like God's perfect justice would mean someone as vile as Adolf would not escape hell. Having said that, we are all born into a death sentence because since Adam and Eve fell and welcomed The Curse into what had been the family of God, God's perfect justice (and it truly is perfect, as we'll see someday) has declared all of us guilty. So we should burn with Hitler. But it's not something we did that keeps us on the fast track to eternal punishment, it's something we don't do. Jesus said so in (hang on a minute, I'll look it up so you don't have to...)

John 3:

16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

Notice that God's mission was never to "send people to hell" because of something they did, but to save people who are already on their way there! (verses 17 and 18). Too many people forget that God is good. He's trying to deliver us from the penalty we were born under. That's what's up with the whole "Born Again" thing. A new life. It's the Devil who's the deceiver.

Wow. That was more of a detour than I had planned on. So back to the fish symbolism. Picture Jesus sitting on the shores of the Lake of Fire, casting grace and forgiveness out into the waters of judgement (I know, it should be the "fires of judgement" since it's the
Lake of Fire but it's hard to picture fish swimming in that). So He's a fisher of men, and He's hoping we'll take the bait because He knows what'll happen if we don't. The real Lake of Fire, where the Devil, the Beast and the false prophet finish off forever. (Revelation chapter 19 and 20) Far from punishing people for stealing, Jesus is trying to save them from the punishment they're doomed to. That's grace. But His love doesn't just cancel out His perfect justice. That's what dying on the cross was all about. That satisfied the death sentence, so freedom is available for all (even Adolf, if he would have accepted it! That's amazing grace!) And hey- I just thought of something else: Remember the story of Jesus walking on the water and calling Peter to come to Him across the water? Usually I'm not a big fan of symbols, I prefer the reality. But if water symbolizes judgement, now picture Jesus walking on the water and calling us to do the same! To rise above the judgement, and come up to the next level. And to join Him on the shore. He wants us to become fishers of men, too. Are you up for it?

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

January 08, 2010 7:56 PM  
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March 09, 2010 2:19 AM  
Anonymous Bari said...

Marvelous witnessing...as simple (well maybe not exactly) as that. "...Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3)

I appreciated your "fish" story very much.

August 14, 2010 4:14 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Thanks!

August 15, 2010 12:32 PM  

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