There exists an unexpected symbol of early Christianity. If you were to tour the ruins of the ancient world you’d see this symbol etched into the walls of Roman catacombs, adorning caskets, on pews, altars, baptistries, and painted all over early Christian art. While there were a number of symbols used by the church from peacocks to doves, strangely the symbol that characterized the early church was the fish. It is known to have been sketched in the sand by Christians trying to secretly identify themselves during times of persecution. They would sketch one line of the fish and wait to see if the other person would sketch the other line. The image was innocuous enough that if the other person wasn’t a Christian they didn’t think too much about the weird person drawing on the ground. And everyone went about their day like nothing ever happened.
The fish became so special to the early church because of the acrostic it made from the Greek spelling of fish: ICHTHUS (ΙΧΘΥΣ), “Iesous Christos Theou Huios Soter.” Translated to English that’s, “Jesus Christ Son of God, Savior.”
That acrostic says so much about Jesus’ life and mission. Mark picks up on this, and in the first verse of his book we see the essence of that early Christian symbol, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Son of God is Marks favorite title for Jesus, and will have great implications for Mark’s understanding of Jesus’ identity.
Tomorrow we begin our 8 week journey with Jesus in the book of Mark. We’ll see the Son of God in action like in no other book of the New Testament. Join us tomorrow as we look at a new king and the dawning of his new kingdom.
Join us for worship tomorrow!
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