Fisher of Men
CHRISTIANS HAVE USED THE FISH SYMBOL — also known as the Fisher of Men, ichthys (ixthus, icthus) symbol — since the first century.
The meaning of the word and symbol is very clever. The word ichthys means fish in Greek, but the letters are also the initials of five Greek words that mean “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior” (Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter).
Jesus Christ told His disciples in Matthew 4:19: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” As the early Christians followed Christ’s command to follow Him and lead others to the Lord, the fish symbol became a natural extension of Christ’s command and also a way to recognize and identify others who knew the symbol’s meaning.
The history of the Christian fish symbol:
The fish outline is a logical symbol for the early Christian church to adopt. Fish are often mentioned in the gospels. This is what one would expect, if Jesus did most of his teaching in the Galilee. The synoptic gospels state this, although the Gospel of John denies it. Fish were a staple in the diet of Galilee.
Some gospel verses which mention fish are:
|Mark 1:17: “Come after Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”|
|Matthew 12:40: “…Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”|
|Matthew 14:17: “And they said to Him, ‘We have here only five loaves and two fish.'”|
|Luke 5:6: “And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.”|
|Luke 24:42: “So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.”|
|John 21:6: “And He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.”|
|1 Corinthians 15:39: “All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fish, and another of birds.”|