• Pastor Barry

A Fish Tale

I hope, like me, you have some great memories of your childhood. Many of my memories include my love for the great outdoors. One of my passions was fishing. Like Opie running barefoot beside Andy with a fishing pole in one hand and a fish on a stringer in the other, I often found myself with a cane pole and crickets headed down the path to catch the "big one" from my neighbors pond. I was a true fisherman, too. My catch often grew in size and number by the time I returned home. And don't forget the one that got away. It was always the size of Loch Ness - a huge snapping turtle that ruled the waters of our pond. True story!

Fish stories have been around for centuries. One of the most notable is the story of the Ichthys, the 1 century A.D. Greek word for fish. I am certain you have seen an Ichthys on the bumper of some proud Christian's car. It is known as the "Jesus Fish" and consists of two simple arches that form the shape of a fish. I wonder though, do you know the amazing story behind the fish?

In a society dominated by religions that rejected Jesus and his followers, people were often punished or, even worse, killed for believing in him. As a result, people shared the message of Christ through a simple fish symbol. If you saw the fish, you knew it was okay to speak about Jesus. The symbol was so well thought out that even the Greek letters, I-ch-th-y-s, were used to form an acronym that read "Jesus Christ God's Son Savior." It was the perfect way to spread hope, encouragement, unity, and a simple message. It was also a perfect logo. Think about the number of references there are to fish during Christ's ministry - fishers of men, loaves and fish, casting nets and catching fish, cooking and eating fish. This was pure genius! Through a fish, believers found a way to spread the story of Jesus Christ - his deity, humanity, ministry, purpose, and more - and to tell the largest fish story ever told. Best part, their story was all true!

Today, you and I face many of the same challenges as these early Christians. Jesus said these times would come (read Matthew 24). However, I am challenged by the unique ability of past believers to spread the story of Jesus Christ without the use of phones, computers, or social media. They did not have Amazon or postal workers, cars or trains. Most everything about being a Christian and sharing the Good News was difficult and risky. But each trying obstacle was met with a genius plan to overcome it. They not only succeeded, but their fish story is easily recognized and proudly displayed some 2,000 years later.

So ask yourself a few questions. What excuses are you using that stop you from sharing his story and cause you to hide your belief? What things do you fear? What sacrifices are you willing to make? History's largest fish tale is proof that God's truth will prevail, his faithfulness is certain, and his story never comes up short! Go reach the world! Don't let your story be "the one that got away."

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