There seems to be a growing political and religious controversy brewing over whether or not the Whitehouse asked for the Christian letters “IHS” to be covered over when the President made a speech at Georgetown University. I personally hope that wasn’t the case because it would offend some Christian people. The controversy however, has become a great teaching tool about those mysterious letters which are usually adorned in every church sanctuary. Through this incident, I hope more people will seek to find out what the letters actually mean.
When I was growing up, I thought that the letters stood for “In His Service.” It seemed perfectly natural to me for that to be the case because we are all meant to serve Christ in the church. At other times, I’ve heard people who were displeased with the minister’s preaching to take the letters to mean, “It’s His Sermon,” but it’s certainly not mine!
No matter what we think, the letters originate in the Roman Church for they actually represent three Latin words – Iesus = Jesus; Hominum = Of Men; and Salvator = Savior. So the three mysterious letters abbreviate an ancient title of Christ – Jesus, the Savior of Mankind. I hope that many people who hear or read about Tuesday’s incident at Georgetown take time to research what the letters mean. It may remind them of who Jesus actually is and hopefully it will bring them closer to Him.
As Paul points out in his letter to the Corinthians, this is of first importance to our faith: that Christ died for our sins. This is what makes Jesus our Savior, and this is what attracts us to becoming Christians in the first place.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are the Savior of Humanity, the Sacred One who died for all of our sins. You have saved us from the wrath of God and restored to His everlasting love and favor. We rejoice in Your Sovereignty over sin and salvation of humankind. We praise Your Name for ever and ever. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment upon today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.