by Robert Brow (www.brow.on.ca), Kingston, Ontario, October 2006
Humans and all other animals, except perhaps the crocodile, are killed and eaten by "The King of the Jungle." This name is why the lion so often appears on the coat of arms of the royal families of Europe. As he reigns among the nations, the Son of God is called "The Lion of the tribe of Judah" (Revelation 5:5). But then in the next two chapters he is also called "The Lamb." This introduces us to the astonishing paradoxes of theology. The Son of God is both a Rock and a Tender Plant. He is a King and a Servant. He is both Lord and a Little Child.
What do we do with these paradoxes? In creating the character of Aslan for the Narnia stories C.S.Lewis was able to capture the kingly power and majesty of the eternal Son of God and combine this with the loving gentleness of a lamb who is willing to be sacrificed for us.
Like all great leaders, Moses combined lion-like courage with a great humility. No other general has freed his people from slavery, and forged this rabble into an army which he led for forty years. And yet it was said "The man Moses was very humble, more so than anyone else on the face of the earth" (Numbers 12:3).
As children of God we are called to live out this astonishing paradox. On the one hand we are to remember that we have been adopted into Jesus’ royal family. We are to share in the dignity and majesty of his reign. "You have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on the earth" (Revelation 5:10 ; see at the bottom of the Home Page the book How do we Reign with the Messiah ?). On the other hand we are to be gentle and lamb-like in our treatment of others.
The paradox helps us see the direction of change that is needed. Some of us are bold in our Christian witness, but we lack humility and grace. There are too many stories of missionaries who were so wilful and arrogant that the people they wanted to serve were terrified of them.
Others of us are sweet, gentle lambs that people enjoy, but we lack royal authority. Many of us put on a false Christian meekness, but we lack the lion-like strength of character that will mark us out as suited for leadership.
How do we change in the direction of this paradoxical lion and lamb character? First we get a clear picture of what is needed from the Bible. The lion hearted should meditate on Jesus words, "You know that the rulers of the nations lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you . . . just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom (a costly payment so others can be free) for many" (Matthew 20:25-28). The excessively meek and mild should think about our position and authoriy in Jesus’ royal family. Then we ask the Holy Spirit to make the required changes in us. And we should not be surprised if he begins to do this is totally unexpected ways.