Read Matthew 28.16-20.
How does this passage connect the trinity to Baptism?
Think about the last Baptism you saw. When was it? Who was baptized? Did the officiant name all three persons of the Trinity?
Next read John 1.29-34.
As John the Baptist talks about Jesus. How are the three persons of the Trinity involved in the way John understands the baptism of Jesus? According to John the Baptist, who is Jesus? How might John's words have contributed to our use of a fish as a symbol for Jesus?
The fish is an easy symbol to preach because of its nature as an acrostic. The creed contained in the symbol, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior should ideally be connected to every sermon in some way.
This symbol is rather versatile, but fits nicely any time you celebrate a baptism, Baptism of the Lord Sunday or Epiphany (depending on your tradition), Christ the King Sunday, or any Sunday in ordinary time.
It was used as a means of discreetly identifying fellow believers during the time of persecution. The fish symbol comes from a sort of ancient acrostic for the phrase “Jesus Christ Son of God Savior.”
Naturally, in English this spells nothing (JCSOGS?), but in Greek, the phrase is: Iesous Christos Theou Uiou Soter. If you take the first letter of each word (remember, CH and TH are each one letter in Greek) they spell ICHTHUS – the Greek word for fish. Sometimes the Greek letters accompany the symbol, as in the picture on the right.
The fish can also serve as a symbol of baptism. In the ancient world, the baptismal font was often called a “piscina,” which is literally a fishpond. The symbol found below is often thought to be a reminder of the Trinitarian formula used in baptism.
The fish has become a widely used representation of Christianity, and can be found on everything from apparel to bumper stickers. Its association to baptism is rarer, but could make the fish an appropriate symbol on or around a font or baptistry.
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