Summary: This sermon is part of the Names of Jesus series. Today we're looking at the name "Lion from the tribe of Judah.
The Names of Jesus
“The Lion from the tribe of Judah”
In C.S. Lewis’ book, “The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe,” the children are in the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, and are for the first time learning about Aslan, the lion who represents Jesus in the story.
In the movie we see upon the children’s faces a sense of wonderment and awe when they hear the name Aslan and that He is on the move.
While the movie takes some liberty in what is said next, the book is quite revealing in describing Aslan.
“Who is Aslan?” asked Susan.
“Aslan?” said Mr. Beaver, “Why don’t you know? He’s the King . . . It is he, not you, that will save Mr. Tumnus . . .”
“Is—is he a man?” asked Lucy.
“Aslan a man!” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion—the Lion, the great Lion.”
“Ooh!” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he—quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
Aslan is power, pure, raw, awesome power, which is the perfect description of Jesus, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
Truthfully there couldn’t be a better picture and description of Jesus as being the Lion of the tribe of Judah, especially after being the Lamb of God. There is no animal that is more respected and feared than a lion, an animal not to be messed with.
Lions are powerful, and symbolic of royalty, with both power and authority, much like King Richard of Camelot fame. They called him “Richard the Lionhearted.” One could say that he was a lion of a man.
Concerning Jesus who both protects and prosecutes, revivalist and theologian Jonathan Edwards says, “If you…come to Christ, he will appear as a Lion, in his glorious power and dominion, to defend you. All those excellencies of his, in which he appears as a lion, shall be yours, and shall be employed for you in your defense, for your safety, and to promote your glory; he will be as a lion to fight against your enemies. He that touches you, or offends you, will provoke his wrath, as he that stirs up a lion. Unless your enemies can conquer this Lion, they shall not be able to destroy or hurt you. Unless they are stronger than he, they shall not be able to hinder your happiness.”
This idea of God being like a lion is seen back in the Old Testament.
“As a lion or a young lion growls over his prey … so the Lord of hosts will protect Jerusalem; he will protect it and deliver it; he will spare and rescue it.” (Isaiah 31:4–5 NKJV)
The only reference, however, to Jesus being a lion is found in the book of Revelation where one of the elders in heaven tells John that the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David, was the only one who is worthy enough to open up the scroll that was in the hands of the Father.
“Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5b NKJV)
Now, last week we looked at Jesus as being “The Lamb of God,” and the reason the lamb before the lion is because there is no way to look at the name of Jesus as being the Lion of the tribe of Judah without first understanding Jesus as the Lamb of God.
Jesus couldn’t be the Lion that rules and reigns without first being the Lamb that was slain. And this is exactly what the John understood when He saw the Lion coming as the Lamb who was slain to take the scroll from the Father.
“And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain.” (Revelation 2:6a NKJV)
These two pictures of Jesus as the lamb and then the lion references His first and second comings.