Summary: 3rd sermon in 3 part series on "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." #1 was on the wardrobe, #2 was on the Witch, and this one deals with the Lion. Aslan came to set Narnia free from the spell of the witch. Jesus is the one who has come to set us fr
“SAVING THE WORLD: LION ON THE MOVE”
[Sermon 3 of 3]
“Always winter and never Christmas” is the way that Narnia is described at the beginning of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Narnia is that way because of the spell of the White Witch. It is truly a dreary and dismal world that Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy enter, seemingly hopeless.
But it is not completely hopeless. There are signs of hope that come early in the story. Something is happening. “They say Aslan is on the move—perhaps has already landed,” Mr. Beaver tells the children during their first evening together. (p.57)
The children aren’t exactly sure what that means. At this point they don’t even know who or what Aslan is. But the story goes on to say “And now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different. Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something which you don’t understand but in the dream it feels as if it had some enormous meaning—either a terrifying one which turns the whole dream into a nightmare or else a lovely meaning too lovely to put into words, which makes the dream so beautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you could get into that dream again. It was like that now.”
Yes, something is happening. Later on Mr. Beaver tells them a little bit more about Aslan, that he is a mighty lion, and he quotes an old poem:
Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again. (p.66)
The ancients of Narnia had spoken of a time and a person who would be coming to save the world, and the children are now witnessing the fulfillment of that. How much more so have the ancient prophets of this world spoken of One who would be coming to save the world. We’ve heard a lot of those words over and over again, haven’t we?
· For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. (Is. 9:6)
· The virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Immanuel. (Is. 7:14)
· The days are coming when I will establish a new covenant with Israel and Judah, not like the covenant I had with their fathers. (Jer. 31:31)
· There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. (Is. 11:1-2)
· Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. (Jer. 23:5)
We’ve heard those over and over, and as Christians we claim that those words have been fulfilled in Jesus Christ, whose birth we are preparing to celebrate, the Jesus who came to save his people from their sin. The significance of his name cannot be overlooked. The angel tells Joseph that his name will be Jesus, a derivative of the Old Testament Joshua, meaning “save.” Jesus is the one who has come to save.
The fulfillment of the promise for the children in Narnia was in the person of Aslan the Lion, who is also called the “son of the great Emperor-beyond-the-sea.” Why a lion? Why not a mighty warrior to come and rescue those who were being held captive by the witch’s spell? Why not a magician who could “out-magic” the witch?
According to some of his writings, Lewis had two reasons for choosing a lion. One was that he wanted the one who would come to save a land of talking animals to be himself a talking animal. That’s what the Incarnation is all about. In Jesus, the divine God came into the world of human beings as a human being. He is one of us.
And there was a biblical reason for Lewis to choose the lion. I read a recent article that was rather critical of Lewis and Narnia, and one criticism focused on his choice of the lion. The writer said that it would have been more appropriate to use a humble sheep, because the lamb is the biblical image for Jesus. In her (unbiased) opinion, the lion represented the American Republican macho male. (Any guesses about her politics?) As powerful and biblical as the image of the lamb is, the lion is also very biblical. In Genesis 49 we read these words: “Judah is a lion’s cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah.” (49:9-10) Jesus is the Lamb of God, but also the Lion of Judah.