Summary: God’s zeal guarantees the redemption of divided hearts and souls.
At the end of the world, where the Narnian sky meets the earth, Edmund and Lucy climb out of the Dawn Treader and begin 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 is was a Lamb. "Come and have breakfast," said the Lamb in it’s sweet milky voice.
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, hungry now for the first time for many days. And it was the most delicious food they have ever tasted.
"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 too?"
"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 uses the two Bible images for God’s Messiah – a lamb and a lion. The lamb is easier to love. The lamb takes away the sin of the world. The Lamb is gentle, meek and mild. The Lamb is without blemish and soft and cuddly. The lamb hosts the marriage supper at the last day. And the Lamb 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. There are neutral verses – as when Samson found honey in the carcass of a dead lion. But otherwise, the purpose of lions in the Bible seems to be eating people and other animals.
The stark contrast between lamb and lion is evident when we compare the first part of John chapter two with the latter. Last week we were with Jesus at a wedding. Everything was happy and fun because Jesus’ miracle was a visible demonstration of his being the answer to sin and sorrow.
Weddings are riots of joy because marriage offers the potential and promise of happiness that can be found in no other relationship. Wine, too, makes the heart glad – and so wine came to symbolize the happiness of marriage. But at the wedding which Jesus attended, they ran out of wine. So Jesus creates, out of wash-water, about 150 gallons of the finest ever fermented. It 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 – he is God in human flesh, come to remove sin’s sorrow and restore the world to perfect and full happiness.
Surely Jesus and his family and friends left laughing and celebrating. But the smiles soon fade as Jesus confronts the religious hucksters of his day. The Lamb becomes the Lion and his zeal is evident in his anger and his actions. And we are confronted too – confronted with a “Jesus” different than expected. “What is in God” may not be the tame lion we thought.
Jesus is zealous to redeem a people – to take hearts and souls distracted from the glory of God and to restore them to that for which we were made. So that the work of God might be carried on in our lives today, please consider three effects of Jesus’ zeal for his Father’s glory.
1. Because of Jesus’ Undivided Zeal for the Glory of God, We Must Not Domesticate Him (John 2.12-17)
During my years of ministry, I have found a booktable or bookstore a very beneficial service to those seeking to know more about God. Occasionally, someone will suggest that we not sell those books on Sunday. This text seems to say that we should not exchange money in the Lord’s house. While I appreciate the desire to honor God in all we do, that is not a correct application. Let us carefully consider the scene.
During the Passover, as many as two million people journeyed to Jerusalem. The result was a carnival atmosphere with trinkets and food and imported finery. It was a wild middle-eastern bazaar and it meant big business. And each worshipper needed 1) money for the temple tax and 2) animals to sacrifice. So in the midst of the teeming excitement, inside the Old Testament church, two groups of businessmen draw our attention: sellers of animals and money-changers.