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Significant Symbols
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My son loves Apple computer products. He is such a devoted fan that, a few years ago, he painted a four foot replica of the company’s symbol on his bedroom wall. He’s now in college and actually works in a computer lab, helping other students with software programs for these computers.

Once in a while, in good fun, we banter back and forth about the pros and cons of different computer platforms and operating systems. We both like what we use and see weaknesses in the other’s choices (cost, complexity of use, availability of programs, etc.). When we finish our “debating”, neither of us has changed our minds. We’re both still dedicated, as ever, to our computer preferences. It’s because we’ve already made our decision and have no interest in switching.

It reminds me of a time when the tide turned in favor of Jesus in Galilee. After feeding five thousand people, the crowds sought to press Christ into claiming the position as King of Israel. They longed to have their enemies smashed and Jesus was obviously the rightful Messiah. But the Savior saw through their shallow motives. The people did not understand the universal scope of His kingdom. Jesus didn’t come to just save people from the Romans; the Lord came to save people from sin.

But Because of the Loaves

And so, a crisis developed. Jesus not only resisted their attempts to crown Him king, He repudiated their efforts. When they asked Jesus to perform more miracles for their benefit, “Jesus answered them and said, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled’” (John 6:26).

Then, with even stronger language, Jesus emphasized the importance of this symbol of Himself by saying, “The bread that I shall give is My flesh” (v. 51) and “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you” (v. 53). That was too much for most of the people who had been following Him. Many could not understand what He meant. Their minds were made up and they would not listen anymore. Most of the followers walked away.

Like the Jews who argued with Jesus, who already made up their minds on what the Messiah should do, we may be just as unwilling to hear the words of Christ. We might cling to our own ideas and misconstrue the words of the Bible to fit our own ideas. We may cling to the very symbols of significance in the Bible and miss the deeper spiritual message of these emblems. Some today still take Christ’s words literally and misunderstand that the bread being spoken of are the words of Jesus.

Symbols represent ideas, nations, companies, sports teams, and loyalties. But the figures are representations of greater things. May we never lose sight of the symbols that point us to Jesus.

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By Curtis Rittenour. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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