A Warm Spot for a Daytime Nap
The Jesus who returns to this earth will not be the same Jesus who left.
This is very evident during Christ’s scourging and crucifixion. The men who tortured our Savior had no inkling of His world-shaking power. They treated Him like an ordinary Jewish prisoner, helpless and weak.
But the Roman soldiers and temple guards were wrong.
In horrible physical agony, our Savior exercised amazing self-control. Remember, just a few pages before, in Matthew 21:18-21, Jesus cursed the fig tree and it withered immediately. As the only truly innocent man, what if Christ had uttered a single curse at His tormentors early on? Out of love for His Father and all of us, He suffered in silence.
No one feared Jesus the first time, because He came to people as a humble carpenter. The second time, Our Lord will return as the glorious, all-powerful “King of kings,” the rightful ruler over every nation and person.
Jesus ascended to Heaven as the triumphant Lamb of God; He’ll return the second time as the reigning Lion of Judah.
The Lion of the Tribe of Judah
There’s only one scriptural passage that calls Jesus “the Lion of Judah.” In other places He’s referred to as “the Lamb.”
5 Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5 NIV)
When I saw the lion asleep on the hood of a jeep, I began to think about the contrast between these two very different creatures.
Lambs are Soft and Gentle
Sheep were domesticated between 11000 and 9000 BC. That’s roughly 120 centuries ago. The male rams can be aggressive, especially during mating season. But few people have a fear of sheep. Most of us view sheep as tame and harmless.
A lamb is a baby sheep, less than one year old. Lambs are playful, curious, friendly and a tasty mouthful for predators. The herd’s one natural defense is to clump together. When I studied biology at Michigan State University, this behavior was called “The Selfish Herd Theory.” The idea is simple; make sure not to be the member of the herd standing nearest the hungry coyotes. Instead, try to put other sheep between you and the dangerous “sheep-killers.”
For a moment, replace the Jeep’s Sleeper
If a lamb instead of a lion had fallen asleep on the hood, I can think of several ways to successfully remove it and drive off in the jeep. You could:
- Gently wake the lamb by stroking it.
- Cradle it in your arms as you lift it off the hood.
- Wake the lamb softly using your voice or lightly clapping your hands.
Of course there are other, more mean-spirited ways to wake a sleeping lamb and each one depends on the element of surprise.
- Abruptly begin banging on the jeep’s metal side with a solid piece of wood.
- Yell loudly, after quietly approaching within a few feet
- Sneak up to the driver’s side and suddenly blow the horn.
No doubt a startled baby sheep falling off a jeep’s hood would make a very funny video, as long as the lamb wasn’t hurt.
But no one would wake a wild lion in that way.
We Treat Wild Lions Differently
Should a guide be leading some tourists on an African safari and find his jeep “occupied,” by an adult lion, he would instruct his people to quietly start walking. Once out of earshot, he’d radio for another ride to come pick them up.
Anyone who suggested throwing rocks at the lion or beeping the horn, would be seen as a lunatic.
People just don’t mess with wild lions.
Both the Lamb and the Lion
Jesus, with His compassionate, loving, lamb-like nature, drew most people to Himself. Men, women and children wanted to spend time in His Presence. But occasionally He displayed His true power and authority, revealing His carefully hidden divine nature.
One of the strongest examples was when Judas and the soldiers came to arrest Him in John 18.
4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.)
6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
7 Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.
8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” (John 18:4-8 NIV)
“I Am” was the name God gave Himself in the burning bush, while talking to Moses (Exodus 3:13-15.)
When Jesus said those words, divine power went forth and knocked down the armed mob who’d come to arrest Him. It was a quick peak behind his human form.
Our Lord came the first time as a sacrificial lamb and meekly acted like one, but don’t be fooled.
Underneath, Jesus has always been the Lion.
The first three images are from Pixabay.com. This last image is of my pastor holding a white lamb in his arms as a living illustration while preaching about Passover, the Sunday before Easter.
Modern owners of sheep herds are now using “livestock guardians” such as dogs, llamas and donkeys to protect their sheep from predators.
Here’s a great article about how to protect yourself from a ram who’s acting aggressive.
Let me admit that theologically I don’t know if Jesus could have righteously lashed out at His tormentors during the early stages of His trial and questioning, before the sins of the world were placed upon His shoulders. One Christian teacher said that love kept our Savior on the cross. Perhaps there’s more truth to that statement than we can understand.