Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Purple Croc Gospel

Romans 10:15 is literally displayed by Acts 29 Fellowship (the mission I'm currently volunteering with). Pastor John Meyers, the founder and visionary behind the mission wore bright orange Crocs as a literal, visual display of the beauty of the gospel and the preparation of the gospel of peace: Ephesians 6:15. He soon became known around the city of Hamtramck as the man in the orange shoes. Since then, the Acts 29 family has followed his example and each has his/her own pair of brightly colored Crocs. This concept intrigued me from the start, but I was somewhat reluctant to conform because: 1. I thought Crocs were glorified shower and gardening shoes and 2. Because my bank account is low, and I already had a decent pair of shoes. As I meditated on the subject I realized how multidimensional this visual reminder of the gospel and its delivery really is. Each member of the body of Christ carries the gospel and should have these beautiful feet, but how they are beautiful and how the gospel is delivered is different for each member of the body. The variation between colors and styles reveals the diversity of the body of Christ and its presentation of the gospel as defined by different callings and leadings of the Holy Spirit.

My own recently purchased Crocs are a flagrant purple, which is a color that holds personal significance for me and my own presentation of the gospel. Purple is a color recently claimed by members of the homosexual and sexually deviant milieu, but it was originally the color of regalia. The color was produced by a very precious dye extracted from the coccus ilicis a worm with a fascinating revelation of the gospel.

The Hebrew word "towla`at" is found in Psalm 22:6 in the midst of messianic prophecy. The word refers to the color scarlet or crimson, but is translated "worm" because the coccus ilicis was known as the scarlet worm or crimson worm due to its association with dyeing.

Jesus quoted the first line of Psalm 22 on the cross Mark 15:34, which was the rabbinical way of citing an entire psalm. Jesus was prophesying on the cross, pointing back to messianic prophecy and revealing himself in scripture even as He underwent spiritual separation from God the Father and suffered the identity of sin and the wrath of God intended for us. In the midst of this powerful prophecy, during the most agonizing hours ever undergone, a reference to the coccus ilicis appears:

"But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people." Psalm 22:6

The scarlet worm undergoes a unique life cycle. The pregnant female climbs a tree and fastens herself on it, it dies after laying its eggs, staining the tree the deep crimson color of its blood. The blood flows over the eggs giving them a protective covering them as they grow into maturity. The blood contains an anti-bacterial cleansing agent that was used in conjunction with the ashes of a red heifer in the purification rituals of Leviticus 14:4. The male of the species grows into a flying insect free from its earthly body.

Jesus identifies himself with this worm as a powerful revelation of the significance of the gospel in nature. The blood of the worm is used to dye purple clothing for kings and princes, dressing them in regal splendor. Jesus drank the cup of God's wrath, emptying it of every drop that could ever have fallen on us, endured the agony of separation from His father, he climbed the cross, was crushed for our healing (Isaiah 53:5), shed His blood to cleanse our sins, and rose again to ascend into heaven and be the firstfruit of the children of God. Through Him we are kings and priests dressed in the royal splendor His blood purchased.

What's the Grace of the Gospel- Paul Washer

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