With fair week just around the corner, it only seems fitting to take this week and talk about animals. I would specifically like to talk about the lion and the lamb. Now I know the lion isn’t something you are likely to see at the fair, and if you do, you may want to walk away slowly and find some place to hide. It has probably escaped from the zoo and is looking for something to eat, so whatever you do, don’t run…just a word of advice. Now a lamb is something you would likely see at the fair, and if you have ever had a chance to visit the lamb barn or show at the fair, you would see that the lion and lamb are drastically different. The lion has a reputation for being pretty fierce, whereas the lamb is often seen as more docile. A lion is incredibly strong and full of weapons, and even though lambs can be strong, their strength pales in comparison to the lion. They are nearly polar opposites of one another, so why would we read in God’s word (the Bible) that Jesus is both the lion and the lamb? How can He be both at the same time?
Apart from the fact that He is Jesus and nothing is impossible to Him, Jesus stands as two significant figures for those who believe in Him. First, He stands as the sacrificial lamb. You see, in God’s eyes, sin equals death, both spiritually and physically, and the consequence for sin is death (Romans 6:23). This is not a cruel God who got pleasure out of seeing His creation suffer. This is a holy and righteous God who hates sin, knows the hearts of men, and opposes anything that would separate Him from His people. God created Adam and Eve without a sin nature, so this was God’s ideal condition. But when a sinful nature entered into Adam and Eve, this drastically changed how God interacted with His people. Sin changed how His people viewed and interacted with the world and Him, and gave them something else to be drawn to other than Him. God knew this, and greatly desired to be in a right relationship again, so He created a system to punish man’s sin and bring death upon something other than man. This is where the lamb comes in.
In Jewish law and tradition, before Jesus went to the cross and became the ultimate sacrifice, the high priest would make regular sacrifices of an unblemished lamb that would take on the sin of man and once again restore them back in right relationship with God. But this system even became flawed by sin, so God sent the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29), Jesus, to be the final sacrifice for sins (Hebrews 10:11). When sinless Jesus chose to go to the cross and become the sacrificial lamb for us, we no longer had to make any other sacrifice for sins, because He took on our sin once and for all. We believe that in Him all our sins are forgiven, gone, taken away, and He bore the punishment of death that we should have received. This is why Jesus is the lamb.
However, the Bible also refers to Jesus as a lion, fierce and mighty, a defender in His righteous anger (Jeremiah 25:38). Jesus is the powerful King who is for His people, and in His hate for sin and evil will protect His people who stand defenseless. There are times when this is actual physical protection, but this can also be spiritual protection as well. For when sin and evil are waging war against us and trying to drag us into death, Jesus gives us a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13) through his divine power (2 Corinthians 10:4). This doesn’t always equate to not ever experiencing trial in our lives. There are some things God sees as necessary for us to go through, in order to develop trust that He will protect and defend us where He feels is best. This is how Jesus is the lion.
There is something we must always remember when it comes to Jesus being both the lion and the lamb of our lives. Faith is the key element. We can experience both of these sides of Jesus in our lives, but it takes faith to believe that Jesus was the sacrificial lamb who took away our sins, and it takes faith to call upon the lion in our weakness to defend and protect us. My friends, “we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved” (Hebrews 10:39). Let Jesus be your lion and lamb.