Whether it was on a car bumper or a T-shirt, you have probably seen the fish symbol and associated it with the Christian faith. (I even have a Christian fish ornament for my Christmas tree!) The emblem has become widely recognized as a visual representation of Christianity. But did you know that the fish has served that purpose for centuries? Early believers sketched fish on the walls of caves to communicate their faith. Why?
Simply spoken, they utilized it to underscore their collective confession of Christ. Those believers took the Greek word for fish (ΙΧΘυς) and used it as an acrostic (which means that each letter of the word stood for another word). Note how they broke it down.
Ι signified the name of Jesus, a label of His humanity and mission. The angel declared to Mary, “You will become pregnant and have a son, and you are to name Him Jesus” (Luke 1:31 NLT). Jesus was born as a real, tangible baby. He was human like you and me; consequently, He was able to speak to us in our language while representing all of humanity.
Χ stood for Christ. The title literally meant the “Anointed One” and is synonymous with the Hebrew word for Messiah. The Jewish people had awaited the Messiah’s coming for years, hoping that this new King would establish a new kingdom. Finally, the time came with the proclamation of the angels: “For unto us a child is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11 ESV). Jesus was the Christ, the Davidic king who had been promised by the patriarchs and prophets.
Θ spoke of God while the υ represented the Son. Combined, they remind us that Jesus is God’s Son. The Holy Spirit, God Himself, overpowered Mary and conceived within her a God-child (Luke 1:35). He was more than just a human; He was divine. This Jesus had descended from heaven and had taken on flesh (John 1:1-14; cf. Phil. 2:5-11). And yet, He still possessed His deity.
ς stood for Savior. Jesus’ ultimate purpose was to provide salvation to the world: “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21b-c). He came to provide the perfect sacrifice for our sins and grant us forgiveness.
So what is the confession found within the fish logo? Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior. It is a declaration that must be made for salvation. Will you embrace the confession this season? Will you experience life through Christ?
This Christmas Eve Sunday, we will come together in one Combined Worship Service at 9 a.m. to celebrate the reality of this confession and worship Him. Then we’ll join back together at 5 p.m. for our Annual Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. No doubt, Christmas Eve is busy, but what an opportunity for us to rejoice in the real reason for the season. Neither worship service will be long, and we’ll try to get you home as soon as possible. (We even have the Ruston PD helping us with our candlelight service traffic!)
So, plan to join us as we reflect on the confession represented by the
fish . . . the most powerful confession of the season! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 KJV).