Object Lesson: The Pomegranate

pomegranate as Christian symbolThe Pomegranate As Christian Symbol

Botticelligranat_bildThis Sunday’s gospel, John 14:15-21, might be a good Sunday to resurrect one of the more obscure symbols of our faith.

John 14 is part of the five-chapter Farewell message of Jesus. Our Lord is desperate in his fervor to lay everything on the table for his disciples—a last attempt to make sure his vagabond followers understand the significance of His mission.

The Crucifixion and Resurrection loom.

The disciples listening to Jesus have yet to experience the Passion. But we are looking backward. We’ve been rereading the Resurrection stories—the women in the garden, Thomas and the disciples, and the travelers on the road to Emmaus.

It’s not such a strange time to revisit the last and longest recorded sermon by the Lord Himself.

The ideas are a little complicated. They bear another look.

The gist of the message is that God did not make us, His children, to live alone and apart from Him and His son. We are all in this together. There’s more to it, more about just how the relationship works. That’s what the passage from Acts points out. (Acts 17:22-31) But central message of the Gospel is pivotal.

On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. —John 14:20


Consider the pomegranate.

296272_265877680091951_227409627272090_1137204_793362_nThe pomegranate was/is a favorite fruit of God. It may even have been the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Life. God gave Moses orders to use the pomegranate on the priestly robes to be worn by Aaron.

Pomegranates are in season from March to May in Israel—Eastertime.

As Christianity moved north and west, the imagery was lost. There were no pomegranates growing in our orchards. But they are abundant everywhere now.

Show your congregation some pomegranate imagery. Then hold up a pomegranate.

Slice it open and notice the abundance of seeds.

Jesus is in the Father and we are in Him. The pomegranate is a good reminder. We are not alone. We are in this together.

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