Animal Symbols Connected to Christ
For over hundreds of years, people have talked about how certain animals are like Jesus, gentle and strong, dying and rising. For children, these can be symbols to help understand difficult concepts and why we often refer to certain sayings and stories in the bible and connect them to the resurrection.
The Lamb: Jesus talk about a lot about sheep and lambs. He is called the Good Shepherd who loves us and cares for us. In biblical times, lambs were offered as gifts to God as a means to ask God for forgiveness. Hence today we call Jesus, “The Lamb of God.”
The Whale: The story is that Jonah the prophet was swallowed by a whale and spent three days inside the whale before he was spat out. Jesus, too, was hidden for three days in the tomb before he rose.
The Egg: The egg gives us three symbols for Jesus: 1) the shell is like the tomb where Jesus lay for three days after he died; 2) the yellow yolk is like the bright sun – we call Jesus the “Light of the World”; 3) the egg gives new life – a chick. And Jesus brought us new life in him.
The Butterfly: The caterpillar, inching along the ground, is like us, humans who must live on the earth. Before it becomes a butterfly, the caterpillar makes a cocoon around itself and stays there as it changes. The cocoon is like Jesus’ tomb. And the beautiful butterfly is like Jesus coming out of the tomb, glorious and alive!
The Lion: Jesus is sometimes called the “Lion of Judah.” The lion is strong and courageous. Long ago, some people believed that lion cubs were born dead and came alive after three days!
The Hare: Hares and rabbits are cousins. Rabbits are shy, but hares are brave and bold. Rabbits live underground with their families, but the hare roams the world. There is a belief that if a hare sees another hare being chased by a fox, the first hare will jump in the chase, giving the other hare a chance to rest. He knows he might get caught. The noble hare, lays down his life for a friend.
Note: Artwork “Peaceable Kingdom” by Gisela Fabian (1943 – 2004)