March 11, 2012

Images Communicate – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:03 am by sranderson0103

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).

Aha moments occur when we see…“Aha. I see what you are saying.”

The Christian and his characteristics are described in terms of many colorful metaphors in the Bible. Figures of speech often reach beyond scope of our literal language. Picture what Christ is saying in the above text. Christ calls us “my sheep,” and has also said: “I am the good shepherd, . . . and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:14-15). If we are truly His sheep, then we will listen to His voice, follow Him, eager to receive safety, peace, and nourishment.

He has also said: “You are the salt of the earth:…You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14). We are therefore expected to bring the salt of preservation and joy to a bland, tasteless, and otherwise decaying world, and the light of salvation to a dark, sinful world.

In another beautiful metaphor, the Lord Jesus has likened us to fruitful branches: “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5). Does He see you as fruitful branch?

The prophets often used similar imagery to communicate God’s truth to Israel.

Jer. 17:8 “For he will be like a tree planted by the water,

That extends its roots by a stream

And will not fear when the heat comes;

But its leaves will be green,

And it will not be anxious in a year of drought

Nor cease to yield fruit.”:

Psa. 1:3 “He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,

Which yields its fruit in its season

And its leaf does not wither;

And in whatever he does,  he prospers.”

The apostle Paul compares us to soldiers, to athletes, and to farmers: “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops.” (II Timothy 2:3,5,6). These images illustrate and help us understand what Jesus expects of us.

With regard to our Christian life, Christ said “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16). The apostle Paul compares us to individual members in a great body. “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.” (I Corinthians 12:27). Peter says we are like, “living stones, …being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” He says we are, “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (I Peter 2:5,9).

There are many other beautiful and meaningful figures of speech in the New Testament, all of which help us to appreciate the richness and fruitfulness of the Christian life. (Adapted from comments by Henry Morris)

 

 

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