|Posted by kelvinbueckert on September 15, 2019 at 4:50 PM|
A metaphor is an image which suggests similarities between two different ideas, without implying that they are identical. Scripture uses metaphors extensively as a way of illustration and teaching. Given the number of metaphors applied to Jesus Christ alone, there is a lot to learn! On the one hand He is the Shepherd – the good shepherd. On the other hand he is the Lamb – the lamb without blemish! There is no contradiction when these descriptions are given to illustrate a characteristic.
Jesus makes reference to Himself in a variety of different ways. He calls Himself the door, the vine, the light, the way, the shepherd, the life….. God the Father is described as the Potter, the Rock and so on.
When He describes Himself as the door, that might mean either a protection against evil, or a gateway into eternal life. I am the Vine refers to connecting man to the Father and His power. He is the "Rose of Sharon," the "Lily of the Valley," and the "Plant of Renown." He is a rock, a refuge, and a strong tower. He is referred to as the light of heaven and in Rev. 22:16, "the Bright and Morning Star."
There is purpose and hope in the illustration of the potter (Isaiah 64:8), who molds and shapes the clay into a perfect vessel, to be used by the master! WOW! The process is sometimes painful – there are tools involved that trim the clay, fire that hardens it against breaking, glaze that coats it to keep it pure.
Some metaphors are subjective (according to the way we perceive them to be). What does Jesus mean by “I am the life” (John 14:6)? Apparently life is something we must give away. “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39). What does this teach us about the eternal life Jesus promised His followers? Is it not something to be shared with others?
“Oh taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8)! Mixed metaphors. He wants everyone to taste, to savour the riches of His grace! He meets each of us at our point of need as He lights the path before us with truth. We know this from John’s account: “I Am the way, the truth” (John 14:6)! Everyone is invited to partake of His light, because Jesus declares Himself to be the Light of the world! (John 8:12).
Now when we study the Word of God we must always finish by asking questions. What is this teaching me? How does this impact my faith? Does this create a spirit of praise in me? What must I share with others? .....or some other such queries.
For me these metaphors excite awe! The magnitude of God’s person is described metaphorically so our finite minds can take in the infinite. What a blessing that God teaches us with illustrations that expand our understanding! What an awesome God we serve!