I love the Jesus fish (aka Ichthus). The brief history of the fish starts with Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000, the massive catch of fish by the disciples, and the fish breakfast after his ascension. Before the cross ever became the sign of Christianity, the fish was its sign. It is said that believers would greet each other by drawing a curve in the dirt/sand. The other person would draw another curve thus completing a fish symbol. This was not only a symbol of their Master, but a form of preservation. It was the secret handshake so to speak. Many of whom would die for their believing in Jesus because they would not state, “Caesar is Lord.”
Today Jesus fish are everywhere. They are on Christian business signs and cards, necklaces, even tattoos, but especially vehicles. We actually have 7 fish on our van: two for my wife and me, and five for our kids. Every once in a while I will see a vehicle in front of me that has an emblem that mocks the Jesus fish. It may have two legs and in the middle say Darwin, or it may have multiple legs and represent the flying spaghetti monster. For the most part, I believe that those who have such emblems are people who don’t believe and yet trying to be cute about it. I think there are some that are probably doing it in a mean-spirited way, but these are probably the minority.
But mean-spirited or those who are doing it all in good fun, must realize that not only are mocking a sincerely held belief by millions of people, not only are they mocking the Lord and Savior of those people, but they are actually mocking the millions of martyrs who had one time used the Ichthus as a way of identifying brothers and sisters in Christ.
I don’t write this article because I believe it will change the hearts of those who bear mocking emblems. I don’t write it because I’m angry and want to vent. I am writing this so that when we see a Jesus fish or a mockery of the Ichthus we may be reminded of our Lord, but also of those who have kept the faith even in the midst of persecution and martyrdom.