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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Blessed Ichthys

"And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men." 
Mark 1:17

The Ichthys, or Christian fish symbol; regularly seen emblazoned on cars and Christian merchandise, has deep meaning and ancient roots.  Early Christians would inscribe the Ichthys symbol upon doorways of houses in which they would meet in.  It was a wordless declaration of their identification with Christ, and a signal to other Christians that this a safe place.  The word Ichthys is actually a Koine Greek acronym.  Koine Greek was the common language spoken by the Greek population.  An acronym is a word formed by using the successive first letters of a phrase to develop another word.  Scuba is one such word.  The original phrase that the word scuba was derived from is "Self-contained-underwater-breathing-apparatus."  "ΙΧΘΥΣ (Ichthys) is an acronym for "Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ", (Iēsous Christos, Theou Yios, Sōtēr), which translates into English as "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior" (        

Sitting at the beach this week, the October sun barely warm as it was shrouded by long gray clouds, I ruminated on the book that I was reading about grace.  There were several fishermen casting their rods into the surf and I noticed one reeling in a fish.  I began to muse about how it must seem to a fish to at one moment be swimming happily in the salty ocean, the only world it has ever known, and then suddenly be yanked into daylight.  This is very much what the human experience of of salvation is like to a person who has been submerged in the world for their entire existence.  It is like a legend among fishes, "There is a different world up there, no fins, no water to breathe. . . and you know that glow we see, it is actually a huge orb. . ."  Foreign territory.  I felt really bad for the fish as it flopped on the wet sand.  A family went over to inspect it as the fisherman removed it from the hook.  I silently said to God, "I hope he throws him back."  The fisherman did just that, what a reprieve!  To be vulnerable and dying and at one man's mercy be given a second chance!  What a blessed Ichthys.

When new Christians first come into the fold, they are in need of discipleship.  It is our duty to nurture and teach them, in order that Christ is duplicated in their lives.  If this duplication is not taking place we are not fulfilling the commission that Jesus gave at His ascension. Matthew 28:19,20, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." 


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