Article 40 : Thoughts from the cross trainer - THE LION AND THE LAMB
Did you ever have one of those keyring fobs that appear like 2 different things depending on which way you look at them, for example, if you tilt it one way you could see a happy face and if you tilt it the other way you can see a sad face?
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’.
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the centre of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. (Rev 5:5–6)
Here we see that Jesus is BOTH the LION of the tribe of Judah and in the next verse a LAMB, looking as if it had been slain. It depends on which way you’re looking at Him!
He is both of these things at the same time. Are we needing Him to be like a lion – of kingly bearing, fierce, unafraid, powerful, or like a lamb – gentle, sacrificial and even vulnerable? It’s amazing to think that Jesus, the Lion, in His humanity chose to make Himself vulnerable, like a lamb, to the cruelty of men and the onslaught of the enemy at the cross.
I was reading in Luke Chapter 7, the account of Jesus in the house of Simon, a Pharisee, where He was eating a meal when a woman, whom the Amplified Bible describes as “a notorious sinner, a social outcast, devoted to sin”. She comes in and begins to weep over His feet, dry them with her hair, kiss His feet and anoint them with very precious, costly perfume.
Simon is incensed because he thinks Jesus should recognise what kind of woman this is and reject her. Jesus then tells Simon a story about a moneylender who had two debtors, one of whom owed him a very small amount and the other who owed him a large debt. When neither could repay the debt, he cancelled the debts of both. Jesus then asked:
“Which of them will love him more?” And Simon replied “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt cancelled”. (Luke 7:41-43)
Jesus could be fierce like a lion when He came across spiritual pride and superiority, as shown by Simon, but was tender and compassionate, like a gentle lamb, to this woman who was falling at His feet in brokenness, humility and reverent worship, caring nothing for what others thought.
Jesus always knows the heart of man, He sees not only our actions but, also, our motives and intentions. It says in verse 47 that:
“… her many sins have been forgiven – for she loved much”.
In the Word of the Week (ending 7th March), we heard about the ‘Jacob generation’. These are people who are probably not even part of the church yet but who, nevertheless, have a great call on their lives. As they encounter Jesus, their lives will be transformed, just like Mary’s had been, and they’ll be greatly used to bring in the harvest that the Lord is promising.
They might not look like what we’re expecting, or act or talk the way we do! But we, who perhaps have been in the church for a long time, need to see every person through the eyes of Jesus (– and I’m very much speaking to myself here!). We need to accept that the Lord will use these apparently ‘rough diamonds’ in amazing ways from the start.
Then we read:
After this, Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out… (Luke 8:1-2)
Many believe that the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with the precious perfume was this same Mary Magdalene and that she was the Mary who was the first human being to see the risen Christ at His tomb. We couldn’t imagine such a unique, incredible privilege being bestowed on such a ‘rough diamond’! If we’d been casting that role, I think we’d have been searching for someone much more ‘respectable’!
Pastor Tim has been sharing with us that he sees Sulgrave as our Capernaum and the Top club Café as our ‘Peter’s house’ (Luke 4:38-40). Here Jesus healed Peter’s sick mother–in–law and then crowds of people came to the house and all were healed and delivered by Him. We know that Sulgrave is a place of great need and social problems so we can expect that the people who will come into the café will have had life experiences that most of us have not had. However, these are the very ones that He has set His eyes on and His heart towards. He gave us this remit some years ago now and we’ve been preparing the ground by our prayers of blessing.
I don’t want to be like Simon, the Pharisee, full of spiritual pride and self–righteousness. I’m asking the Lord to give me a heart full of His tender compassion and gentleness and to see people through His eyes – people filled with potential.
Jesus JUDGED the Pharisee but had MERCY on the sinner.
He is so full of GRACE and TRUTH. He can speak a word of truth that can cut like a two–edged sword but He’s also so full of grace, which is favour we don’t deserve.
To the Pharisee He held up the mirror of truth, calling out his judgemental, critical heart and to the sinful, repentant woman, He offered the grace of forgiveness and acceptance.
Two sides to the same Lord! Lion and Lamb!
PS … And, just as an encouragement to us oldies – more of the Abraham generation than the Isaacs or Jacobs – we will still have a vital part to play encouraging, blessing and nurturing these precious souls.
It will take ALL of us working together to see the Lord’s plans fulfilled.