Judah is a lion’s cub; my son, you stand over the prey. He crouches down and stretches like a lion; like a lioness, who dares to provoke him? Gen 49:9
Jacob is old. He gathers his sons to bless them before he promotes to heaven. Above we have part of the blessing Jacob speaks over his son Judah. Remember, this is the tribe Jesus, the lion of Judah, comes from.
Some 2000 years ago, this day – it is Easter Sunday as I write this – the lion of Judah stood up from his prey. He had stricken the prize on Good Friday – a striking unlike any before. He had devoured his prey on Saturday. And he stood up from it on Sunday. Only to lay down in rest. This was it. It had been accomplished. Nothing more to do. It was finished. Who now dares to annoy, disturb, trouble, disrupt him?
It amazes me how precise the bible is. Jacob, just short of 2000 years before the cross, spoke this over his son, and it fits perfectly. It fits Jesus perfectly.
Jesus is the lamb, slaughtered. Yet he is the lion that prevailed.
Austin Sparks talked about us and our transformation when we meet this lion-lamb at the cross. He said that we, coming as predator, do not have to cage us in after we experienced the cross, building a cage of does and don’ts, but that we are transformed into the lamb. And therefore, we can live in freedom. Freedom not to do what harms us. Freedom to do what is right.
And the wolf will be living with the lamb, and the leopard will take his rest with the young goat; and the lion will take grass for food like the ox; and the young lion will go with the young ones of the herd; and a little child will be their guide. Isa 11:6
The wolf and the lamb will take their food together, and the lion will make a meal of grass like the ox:but dust will be the snake’s food. Isa 65:25a
The predator and the prey living together with no fear nor cravings.
Could it be that after the cross we can resemble the Christ not only as a lamb, but also as a lion?
Let me tell you a story.
When I was a child, my mom from time to time asked us what animal we wanted to be. I wanted to be a black panther, and later, when I learned my name’s meaning, I wanted to be a wolf. Ralph depicts the wolf as counselor to the highest God.
After I gave over my life to Christ, I changed this immediately. I wanted to be a lamb.
I am no lamb.
Granted, I have learned some character traits of a lamb.
And I know why I did so.
Because I live with the lamb and take my food together with him.
Before I met Jesus, the god my name referred to was Wotan, the highest god of the nordic and germanic tribes. His wolves advised him in warfare and murder.
But now I am a counselor in the council of God, the highest God. Period.
Sometimes, when I look at the flock of our shepherd Jesus Christ, I am reminded of the herd of Noah. He had animals of all kind in his fold. And they lived together in peace. A sign for the time we are in, if we only knew.
(Just in parentheses: too often, we run from other children of God, because they look like predators, and often behave just like them. Or we go after brothers because they do not portray the Kingdom just like us, and look like dumb sheep.)
When Jesus said that the last days will be like in the days of Noah, this was not what he was talking about. But it sure is part of what I am reminded of.
A wonderful picture of God’s creativity and our diversity.
We need the royalty of the lion, the strength of the bull, the patience of the lamb, the counsel of the wolf, the speed of the leopard, the sight of the eagle, the purity of the dove – just to name a few.
We need each other in our diversity.
On our way to live out the new creation we have become, do not strive to become what you are not. Do not go for the unified, normalized, harmonized, unitized, sanitized, standardized, religious depiction of a follower of Christ as a lamb. Nor settle for what you are or seem to be now. “This is just me” is but a bad excuse for laziness and unbelief. Become what God planned for you. Learn from The Lamb, but also learn from The Lion. Learn to become the best you there is. This is what Jesus died for. What he was sent by the father to do. He tells us in Luke 4:18 that he was sent (apostello) to set the crushed free, or closer to the original, to send (apostello) the crushed into freedom and liberty. Liberty to be what they are in the first place.
We are sons of God. And as sons of God, we are a depiction of the creativity of our God in all of our diversity.
I talked about apostolic centers in my last post. This only works through our diversity. It breathes and lives creativity through completion.
Are you up to become the best you you can be? Jesus paved the ground on the cross. And just like him, just like the animals we see in Isaiah, we can rest. Because from a pasture of rest we will be changed into what we already are – living together and feeding together. (Just not from each other.)