At dinner last night, one of my fellow physicians talked about his experiences as a beekeeper. That conversation led to a discussion of another insect, coccus ilicis, also known as "the crimson worm."
Our worm expert told us that it's mentioned in Psalms and is an example of how nature declares the truth of God. "The gospel worm is prophetic of Jesus."
The Beekeeper chuckled. "Here's another blog topic for Leanna."
I was a little skeptical, and very hesitant about writing on the gospel bug, so I did an internet search this morning, including Scholar.Google.com.
Coccus ilicis is an insect mentioned in numerous scientific articles. In ancient times, it was highly prized for its use in dying fabric a rich crimson color. It was so valued that it was used in commerce as a form of money in some early cultures.
Psalm 22:6 does, indeed, mention the crimson worm in a prophecy of Jesus.
"But I am a worm and not a man, a reproach of men and despised by the people." Psalm 22:6 nasb
The word translated as "worm" is towla and refers to the female coccus ilicis. According to the Blue Letter Bible (follow link for citation), the female permanently attaches herself to the trunk of a tree before laying her eggs. Her body covers the eggs and serves as a protection for them until they hatch. As her body decomposes, it releases a red fluid that stains the tree.
In a manner of speaking, her death on the tree brings life to her offspring. The red dye that stains the tree is considered by some to be symbolic of the blood of Jesus that brought life to us, His children.
It's one more example of how all creation declares the glory of God. (Psalm 19:1)
I'm reminded of the words of Jesus on the day of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The Pharisees told Him to silence the praises of His followers. "I tell you," He said, "if they keep quiet, the rocks will cry out." Luke 19:40.
As I've thought about the crimson worm this morning, I've realized that this tiny insect declares the truth of Christ with her life. She's a living testimony of the redemption of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.
It's what we, His followers, are meant to be. As disciples, our words, our actions, our very lives are supposed to point people to Jesus, but do they?
Today, let's look for testimony to the truth of Christ in our own lives. Is there enough evidence to point people to Jesus? If not, what needs to change?
The heavens declare the glory of God, and so should we.
"Ask the animals and they will teach you or the birds in the sky and they will tell you..." Job 12:7
ps - I know coccus ilicis is an insect and not a bug, but I've taken a little artistic license with the title.
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