A metaphor is a concrete concept that helps explain a larger, abstract concept. Jesus loved them!
1 Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars [the structure of God’s Plan].
Let’s walk through a few chapters of the Gospel of John and listen to Jesus:
35 ‘I am the bread of life,’ replied Jesus. ‘Anyone who comes to me will never be hungry! Anyone who believes in me will never be thirsty!’ John 6:35
53 ‘I’m telling you the solemn truth,’ Jesus replied. ‘If you don’t eat the flesh of the son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54 Anyone who feasts upon my flesh and drinks my blood has the life of God’s coming age, and I will raise them up on the last day. John 6:53-54
37 On the last day of the festival, the great final celebration, Jesus stood up and shouted out, ‘If anybody’s thirsty, they should come to me and have a drink! 38 Anyone who believes in me will have rivers of living water flowing out of their heart, just like the Bible says!’ John 7:37-38
12 Jesus spoke to them again. ‘I am the light of the world,’ he said. ‘People who follow me won’t go around in the dark; they’ll have the light of life!’ John 8:12
7 So he spoke to them again. ‘I’m telling you the solemn truth,’ he said. ‘I am the gate of the sheep. John 10:7
25 ‘I am the resurrection and the life,’ replied Jesus. ‘Anyone who believes in me will live, even if they die. 26 And anyone who lives and believes in me will never, ever die. Do you believe this?’ John 11:25-26. This metaphor was prophecy, as well. Jesus became our Resurrection and brought us eternal life, life in the next age with Him in the kingdom of heaven.
There are more, but we will cover them another time. My point is this: Whatever we think we know about the Gospel, Christ’s Plan, and the Kingdom of Heaven, we must confess that all we really have conceptually are metaphors. Evidently, spiritual concepts are much larger than our human, finite brains can handle. Jesus hinted at this truth in John 3:12, “If I told you earthly things and you don’t believe, how will it be if I tell you heavenly things? Are you going to believe then?” BTW, Jesus had been speaking a metaphor to Nicodemus about being born again. Peter used the same metaphor in 1 Peter 1:23 and actually mixes two metaphors together, “You have been born again [#1-John 3:3], not from seed which decays but from seed [#2-John 12:24] which does not – through the living and abiding word of God.”
All of these metaphors give us an idea of who Christ is and what He means to us. He is:
- Our bread of life
- Our living water
- Our light
- Our Gate-keeper
- Our Good Shepherd
- Our Resurrection and Life
Let’s praise Him today for who He is to and for us. All that, and also the Fellowship of the Trinity!
Abba, I praise You for Jesus–You in the flesh. It boggles my brain that You, being untouchable by death, would become human so that You could die at the hands of sinful men, allowing Yourself to be killed rather than seeking retribution on them. By taking death to the grave, You conquered death and left sin and death there in the grave. WOW! Your Plan truly is beyond our wonderings! To You be glory and majesty and honor, O Lord. Hallelujah! Amen.