Thursday, September 05, 2013

Understanding Walrus

A question I heard this morning:  have you ever considered how difficult it would be to explain that Jesus is the Lamb of God to someone who is very familiar with a walrus, but has never seen a sheep?

There is a truth in the phrase "Jesus is the Lamb of God" that those who heard it understood -- because they could understand what the metaphor means.  They knew sheep.  The knew Jewish sacrifice.  They got it.

How does that metaphor play in a different world?

How do we understand the same metaphors that a person in 1st century Israel would?  Many people say they take the Bible as the literal truth of God, but it isn't written as literal truth.  Jesus is not literally a lamb.  The phrase is a metaphor that we seek to understand, even though we are living 2000 years later.

If I only know walruses (is that the plural of walrus?), then I might not understand everything about the lamb metaphor.

We need to be careful when we say that the way you or I interpret the Word of God is the one and only way to understand the truth of what is written.  We are as distant from the original setting and hearers of the word as a Walrus caretaker is from shepherds.  That doesn't mean we can't understand the truth - it means we have to work harder, listen to each other, read more than just one verse, and listen to more than just one voice of interpretation.

And we have to admit that we only know the walrus.



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