Summary: An examination of some of the characteristics of the Lion of Judah as displayed in Aslan the lion in C. S. Lewis’The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
TITLE: Have you met the Lion?
TEXT: Revelation 5:5
Through the years there have been a number of famous lions on television and in the movies.
• Leo debuted on July 31, 1928 as the MGM lion mascot seen at the beginning of every MGM feature film.
• In the film adaptation The Wizard of Oz (1939) which has been re-run on television over the years, actor Bert Lahr portrayed the cowardly lion and sang his now famous rendition of "If I Were the King of The For-r-r-r-est!"
• Elsa was made famous by the book Born Free in 1960. There followed two films, one in 1965 and a sequel in 1972.
• Kitty Kat was a full-grown African lion on the sitcom The Addams Family, which aired from 1964-66.
• Linus the Lion-hearted premiered on CBS-TV in September of 1964. Linus the Lion-hearted started out as a product symbol for General Foods’ POST Crispy Critters cereal, but made the leap to big-time television with his own show when General Foods realized how popular the docile king of the jungle turned out to be with youngsters.
• Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion was a silly looking lion seen on the adventure series Daktari, from 1966-69.(1)
In more recent years we would have to include Simba and Mufasa from The Lion King cartoons. Now we would also include Aslan from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Even though the television and cartoon counterparts are often friendly, in real life lions are not noted for compassion. The lion has always been a symbol of royalty and strength.
The lion is found both literally and figuratively in the Bible. This morning we will look at the lion as a figure of Christ.
In the beginning of the Bible, in Genesis 49:9-10, Jacob who is called Israel is about to die and pronounces the blessings on his 12 sons where he pronounces God’s view of their future.
In speaking about his oldest son, Judah, he says,
“9 You are a lion’s cub, O Judah;
you return from the prey, my son.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down,
like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he comes to whom it belongs
and the obedience of the nations is his”
Of course, this didn’t take place in Judah’s lifetime, or even for a thousand years, but it’s a prophecy about the coming Messiah.
In the last book of the Bible, in Revelation 5:5, we see a reference from the other end of time. The apostle John is on the island of Patmos, and God shows him a picture of the end of time in the spiritual realm. John has seen the lampstands that represent the churches, he has come before the throne of God, and now he realizes that the scroll that will declare the end of the age is in the hand of God, but John is so focused on the glory and majesty around him that he can’t see anyone who can open the scroll.
Just as we become so focused on what we see happening around us that we lose sight of Jesus, John could not see the Lord because of the commotion. Then we see in Rev. 5:5 where John writes:
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 in the center of the throne…”
Then John continues with a description of the Lamb. This is part of the great dichotomy of God’s plan. The Lion of Judah appears as a Lamb that was slain. The King who came to rule the universe was born as a baby in poverty.
This lion comes in weakness.
I. The Lion comes in weakness
Jesus as a baby is not an example of strength and courage when the shepherds meet him.
A. Shepherds meet him
The shepherds were living and working in the nearby fields, keeping watch over their flocks, when an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and said, “ Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” A few moments later a great host of angels appeared and were praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels left the shepherds “hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.” “The Lion of Judah” that they saw was a “cub”, yet we know their lives were changed as “they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child.”