Summary: The contrast between lamb and lion in John 2. Do not try to domesticate Christ. Jesus can be angry. Jesus is passionate. Jesus is powerful.
OUR PASSIONATE LORD
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is Book 3 of “The Chronicles of Narnia”. At the end of this wonderful story, C. S. Lewis describes an encounter between the two human heroes Edmund and Lucy, with Aslan (the lion which represents Jesus Christ). C. S. Lewis writes:
“At the end of the world, where the Narnian sky meets the earth, Edmund and Lucy climbed out of the Dawn Treader and began to wade southward along the beach. But between them and the foot of the sky there was something so white on the green grass . . . they could hardly look at it. They came on and saw that it was a Lamb. ‘Come and have breakfast,’ said the Lamb ….”
“Then they noticed, for the first time, that there was a fire lit on the grass and fish roasting on it. They sat down and ate the fish … and it was delicious.”
"Please, Lamb," said Lucy, "is this the way to Aslan’s country?"
"Not for you," said the Lamb. "For you the door into Aslan’s country is from your own world."
"What?!" said Edmund. "Is there a way to Aslan’s country from our world?”
"There is a way into MY country from all the worlds," said the Lamb; but as he spoke his snowy white flushed into tawny gold, and his size changed, and he was Aslan himself, towering above them and scattering light from his mane.”
C. S. Lewis skillfully uses two biblical images for God’s Messiah – a lamb and a lion. The lamb is easier to love. The lamb is gentle, meek and mild. It takes away the sin of the world. The lamb hosts the marriage supper at the last day, and it lights the city of God – eliminating the need for the sun and moon.
The Lion, on the other hand, is ferocious. Of the 150 times that the Bible uses “lion”, or “lioness,” none refer to a gentle or friendly relationship. The purpose of lions, in Scripture, seems to be for eating people and other animals. But in Jesus Christ, both fittingly come together.
PLEASE READ JOHN 2:13-22. The contrast between lamb and lion is evident when we compare the first part of John 2 with the latter. In verses 1-10, we see Jesus at a wedding. Weddings are joyous because marriage offers the potential and promise of happiness. Wine, too, makes the heart glad – and so wine came to symbolize the happiness of marriage. But at the wedding, they ran out of wine. So Jesus turned water into wine. This was Jesus’ first miracle, and it demonstrated that He is the answer to sorrow.
This is a living parable. Every human relationship (even the best marriage) has empty days and dry hearts. Only God can create overflowing and eternal joy. Jesus is telling the world that He is it – the Lamb of God in human flesh, come to remove the sorrow of sin and restore the world to perfect happiness.
Now contrast this with what happened when Jesus and his disciples left the wedding celebration. After the wedding, Jesus entered the Temple and confronted the religious hucksters of his day. In that instant, the Lamb became the Lion, and his passion was evident in his anger and his actions. We’re also confronted with a “Jesus” different than many expect. What we see in John 2 is not the lamb, and He’s not a tame lion which so many expect.
Jesus is zealous to redeem His people – to take hearts and souls distracted from the glory of God and to restore them to God. He does this so the work of God can be evident in our lives. This morning I want you to consider Three Effects of Jesus’ Zeal for His Father’s Glory. Because of Jesus’ passion for God’s glory, the first effect is,
1st: Do not try to domesticate Christ. Some years ago, at one of our church dinners, we had tables displaying various items for sale in the Fellowship Hall. One of our dinner guests took me aside and asked if we weren’t buying and selling like the priests Jesus drove out of the Temple. It was a thoughtful question, but it was also a misapplication of John 2. Let’s consider the scene.
It’s estimated that, in Jesus’ day, as many as two million people journeyed to Jerusalem during Passover. The result was a carnival atmosphere with trinkets, and food, and imported finery. It was a huge bazaar, and it meant big business. Each adult Hebrew who came at Passover needed two things: money for the temple tax and animals to sacrifice. So in the midst of these Holy Days, two groups of businessmen set up their tables inside the Temple: sellers of animals, and money-changers. They sought to exploit the occasion for their own gain.