In our worship today we sang about the Lion and the Lamb. Those two terms are often used in Christian circles to describe Jesus. But what a contrast!
Think of a lion. The mighty king of the jungle.
He is big, he has a tremendous roar. He symbolizes power and strength. Lions have often been used as symbols of royalty. Many of the ancient palaces of kings and temples of pagan gods were decorated with statues of lions.
And these descriptions describe Jesus Christ in His role as king and resurrected Lord.
Old Testament prophets foretold of a coming Messiah who would be king.
Micah told us:
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”
Isaiah spoke of Him:
“There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.”
Daniel had a vision of this coming king and told us:
“And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.
Jesus Himself accepted the title of “King” when confronted by Pilate:
“Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth”
But then there is the lamb.
Lambs are considered to be meek animals. They have no sharp teeth, no claws, no physical way to defend themselves. They run from what frightens them and the only protection they have from predators is to band together in large groups for protection. Sheep were one of the earliest animals to be domesticated. Dependent on protection from the shepherd, it is doubtful they could ever survive in the wild.
Yet the Bible often refers to Jesus as a lamb.
Isaiah in describing the coming suffering of the Messiah, described Him as a helpless lamb.
“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.”
When John the Baptist declared Jesus to be the one coming to deliver he referred to Him as a lamb.
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
And Peter spoke of Jesus as the lamb without blemish or spot.
“knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” !
I am so thankful that my Savior is both a lion and a lamb.
Powerful yet meek.
Majestic yet humble.
Calling for justice and righeousness yet standing for grace and mercy.
I’m glad my God is a powerful and mighty God. So glad when I go to Him with my problems, I know I am going to a God that is able. His strength is mine. How often I have called on that strength –
- When my father left my mother and me when I was only 14 – He became the source of strength and love I needed to go on with hope.
- When my husband was killed in an accident and I was left to raise two little girls, He promised to never leave me and He gave me the wisdom and courage to go on with hope.
- When the doctor said my cancer was very advanced and aggressive and there was not much hope I would live long, He assured Him that He would walk with me though this “valley of death” and gave me the determination to fight with all my might this dreadful disease with hope.
I am also glad He is a meek and loving God with mercy and grace.
- When I became all stressed out about my future and my aging body, He assured me that just as He has been there for me in the past, He will not leave me now. He understood my worry and concern and did not condemn me for my lack of faith.
- In the many times I have allowed my own thoughts and feelings to lead me to gossip, not forgive others, to be disobedient, He has never stopped loving and drawing me back to where I need to be in Him.
It was His love (the lamb) that led Him to the cross – thank God for the Lamb!
It was His power (the lion) that brought Him out of the tomb – thank God for the Lion!