Summary: Third in a series of three. This message brings the message of CHristmas and Narnia together for a conclusion focusing on Aslan the Roaring Lion.
ASLAN: TURNING TRAGEDY TO TRUIMPH
Eveyone here knows that line from Away in a Manger that says: The cattle are lowing the baby awakes but little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.
Personally I think that is one of the stupidest lines ever written.
Why do so many people insist on taming Jesus? Why make him all sentimental and mushy when he is naturally wild, ferocious and amazing?
C.S. Lewis the brilliant author of the Chronicles of Narnia – chose to represent Jesus by his character Aslan – a fierce, wild yet very good Lion.
Recently a critic of the Chronicles of Narnia movie who knew relatively little about the Bible said it was a big mistake for C. S Lewis to compare Jesus to a lion.
According to him a lion is too ferocious to be a symbolic representative of Jesus. Really?
Maybe part of the reason that particular critic and others would object to representing Jesus by comparing him with the lion Aslan is that the way we communicate the life of Christ. Even our versions of the Christmas story are usually pretty tame.
When we over-sentimentalize Christmas we wring all the life – all the energy – all the sizzle out of it.
By focusing on "Pretty Baby Jesus in the manger" the story comes off more like a fairytale than God’s historic plan to save the world.
Of course the baby Jesus cried when a cow mooed in his ear!
Absolutely he let his mother know that he needed to nurse at her breast.
No doubt he even left a deposit in his little swaddling clothes – that’s why they were swaddling -- so his parents could un-swaddle the parts that needed cleaning.
The harsh realities of Jesus’ birth don’t spoil the story of Christmas -- they make it real!
Christmas is a true story – of a completely human baby who is born to impoverished peasants under the harshest circumstances.
Danger lurked around every corner.
Think about it. There was this egocentric ruler who wanted to raise taxes and put out the decree that forced Joseph and Mary to leave their northern town of Nazareth and trudge almost 70 miles on foot back to their ancestral home – Bethlehem.
I can only imagine how demanding a journey that was.
Some scholars think it likely took a week to 10 days to get there.
So when Joseph and Mary – real people with real names – in a real place -- arrived in Bethlehem there was room for them. You would think because this was their ancestral home that they might have had at least one relative who would have taken them in.
But no -- the only room available is in that a cold dark stable – that was much more like a cave than a barn.
Here we see a peasant couple huddled against the cold night air -- struggling to survive. Soon the baby arrives and the only assurance they get that they are not totally alone and abandoned is news of a heavenly telegram from a bunch of clumsy country bumpkins who watch sheep for a living.
Shepherds at the time of Christ were often petty thieves or social misfits or both.
The shepherds show up with congratulations and news of a singing choir of angels giving them an official birth announcement.
That ended with the isntruction that they should go to Bethlehem and find a stable where a baby boy was wrapped in rags and sleeping in a feed trough.
The one in rags in the feedbox was God’s Chosen One – the Savior. Say what?
This real story of the first Christmas is not sentimental and sweet. No it is full of danger and struggle – marked by pain, suffering, loneliness and uncertainty.
This is the beginning of the life I consider to be as wild, dangerous and adventuresome as any life ever lived. This is where the story of Jesus – the lion-hearted begins.
If you watch closely you will see adventure in the unfolding life of Jesus.
You will see
Someone who spoke with words of thunder
Someone who displayed acts of courage and occasionally flashed some holy anger.
You will see a man who courageously faced the whip and the thorns and the cross. This same man eventually faced down Satan and the dark forces of Hell itself. Jesus is someone who overcame death and hell and is alive forevermore!
That’s why I call him Jesus the lion-hearted.
So let’s take a closer look at Him and the reasons he is represented by Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia
We should realize that Jesus is a Conquering Lion who Rules
"Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has conquered. He is worthy to open the scroll and break its seven seals." Revelation 5:5 NLT