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Jesus and the Elephant

Updated on November 4, 2016

The Elephant in the Room

It was one of those days. I was so frustrated trying for hours to unclog my bathtub drain with a broken plunger because apparently my hair sheds a great deal. I wasn't feeling at all happy that I had a full head of hair knowing that there are many people battling cancer and other illnesses who do not have hair. The "big elephant" in the room was my turning over and over in my head something in which someone I really didn't know well said years ago in which I found to be insulting. I kept thinking, "He really did not like me. This is what he thinks of me." Then, the logical part of my brain kicks in and says, "He really did not know you. If he didn't even know you how can what he said be in any way accurate? He was revealing something about himself, not you."

"The best remedy for those who are unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature, and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be."

— Anne Frank

God in Nature

People have looked to animals and nature for guidance since before the dawn of Christianity. Aesop's Fables are still famous and read today, most notably, "The Tortoise and Heir". Aesop was alleged to have been a slave and storyteller who is thought to have lived between 620 B.C.E. and 564 B.C E. After Christianity became a major religion, especially in the middle ages, people who were dependent on wild and domestic animals in order to survive held the belief that the natural world was arranged in a way to be God's book of instruction other than the Bible. They believed that animals had characteristics that were created by God to provide examples of how to behave and reinforce Christian teachings. Animals were made into religious allegories. The first text that is known to have done this is the Physiologus, which was written in Greek in Alexandria around the 2nd to 3rd century A.D.

"But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the Earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind."

— Job 12:7-10

Jesus Heals the Infirmity

Luke, the Physician, in his Gospel version talks about a woman who was crippled for 18 years. When she stood in the presence of Jesus he said, "Woman you are set free from your infirmity." (Luke 13:12) Some people think that she wasn't really crippled. They think that she was dealing with either a spiritual, mental, or emotional affliction. Whatever the infirmity was, Jesus healed her, though.

"And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, "Woman thou are loosed from thine infirmity."--Luke 13:12


Infirmity as Defined by

1. a physical weakness or ailment: the infirmities of age

2. quality or state of being infirm; lack of strength

3. a moral weakness or failing

The Elephant

Most people do not think of the Elephant as a Christian symbol. However in the middle ages it was used as one. The people in the middle ages would write bestiaries, or stories about animals with a moral tone. The elephant was used as a symbol for the fall of man because in the middle ages the people believed that the animal had no knee joints. When the elephant fell or had an infirmity like the woman Jesus healed, it was dependent on the other elephants to get back up. A larger elephant, symbolizing the law of "Moses" would try and help the elephant and fail. Then, twelve elephants, representing the twelve prophets in the old testament, would also try and fail. So, a small elephant, symbolizing Jesus would try and succeed in helping the elephant up.

Is This What God Thinks of Me?

The Healer

The thick skin of the elephant represents the stubbornness of the sinner. Possibly when I have thoughts of someone saying something which I found to be insulting running over and over in my head is in a way a sign of stubbornness. It is an infirmity. Although, they should not have said what they did, I do not have to validate their comments, the same as the woman in the bible did not have to stay away from Jesus and not be healed. Jesus heals.


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    • Ezria Copper profile image

      Ezria Copper 17 months ago

      The elephant along with many other animals were used to tell stories about Christianity.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 17 months ago from Queensland Australia

      This was interesting. I had never heard of the elephant being used as a Christian symbol.