The ‘fish’ is one of the oldest and most recognizable symbols of Christianity. Christians were persecuted by the Romans in the first centuries after Christ and needed a covert way to identify themselves to each other, and to recognize locations where they would be welcomed and safe.
They chose the Greek word for fish, “Ichthys” because each letter represented a word related to Jesus.
I ēsous Jesus
Ch ristos Christ
th eou God
hy ios Son
s ōtēr Savior
The Romans and other pagans had used a fish symbol throughout their culture well before Christians chose it, which made the fish symbol ideal for the persecuted believers in Christ. Because, unlike the cross, the fish drew little to no attention. Over time the cross became the true religious symbol of Christians. And then in the second half of the 20th century the fish experience a revival as a Christian symbol.
This past week workers made a surprising find as they tore up our front porch. Wood doesn’t weather well in the south Florida climate and our old front porch was falling apart. Luckily the wood was resting on a solid concrete footing. It took two days of laboring for the guys to pull up all the wood. As they swept the sawdust and wood chips away a form began to appear on the threshold of our front door. A detailed “Ichthys” over two feet in length was engraved into the concrete. One of the guys knocked excitedly at the door, saying there was something I needed to see. It was reminiscent of a great find at an archaeological dig!
As the four of us stood in silent awe of the message before us, my heart began to beat faster. I felt God’s presence in that moment and His blessing over those of us standing there, as well as over my home and our family. The Christian fish symbol that a faithful construction worker etched in that concrete footing over thirty years ago is a beautiful expression of faith. But we stood there in reverence because it is so much more than a fish etched in concrete. It is a statement of the love, faith, trust, and commitment to the Lord that we hold in our heart each day. God Is Good.
“…God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7