Christian Metaphors


 "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27).

The Christian believer and his characteristics are described in terms of many colorful metaphors in the Bible. In our text, Christ calls us "my sheep," and has also said: "I am the good shepherd, . . . and I lay down my life for the sheep" (John 10:14-15). If we are truly His sheep, then we will surely follow Him, receiving safety, peace, and nourishment.

He has also said: "Ye are the salt of the earth: . . . Ye are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:13-14). We are therefore expected to bring the salt of preservation and joy to a bland, tasteless, and otherwise decaying world, and the light of salvation to a dark, sinful world.

In another beautiful metaphor, the Lord Jesus has likened us to fruitful branches: "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit" (John 15:5).

The apostle Paul compares us variously to soldiers, to athletes, and to farmers: "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. . . . if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboreth must be first partaker of the fruits" (II Timothy 2:3,5,6).

With regard to our Christian life and witness, Christ said we must be "wise as serpents, and harmless as doves" (Matthew 10:16). The apostle Paul compares us to individual members in a great body (I Corinthians 12:27). Peter says we, "as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house," and also are like "a royal priesthood" (I Peter 2:5,9) to offer up spiritual sacrifices.

There are many other beautiful and meaningful figures of speech in the New Testament, all of which help us to appreciate the richness and fruitfulness of the Christian life. HMM