Friday, June 08, 2012

John Looks for a Lion, But Sees a Lamb Instead

Revelation 5.1-7

This may be the single-biggest mind-job in the Revelation. The One Who Conquers is called the Lion of Judah—an old title for a messianic warrior—but appears instead as an undead lamb—the very opposite kind of image. Christ sounds like a warrior, but appears like a victim.

How often have we looked for warrior Jesus, only to be disappointed by the crucified lord?

Conversely, how often have we hoped to hear gentle, lambing words from Christ, and been shocked back to reality by the lion’s roar?

These twin images—fierce lion, slain lamb—get convoluted in our modern context of James Cameron movies and Naughty Dog games. We’re predisposed toward a violent savior (on the one hand) and a subtle sage (on the other). We want Jesus to sound meek and nice and pet-worthy, but ultimately show up and destroy our enemies. But we’ve got it backwards. He conquers through his death and through his word, and he means for us to do likewise.

Later, in 12.11, we’re told that the saints conquer evil through the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony, even though it cost them their own lives. His blood. Our words. Our blood. That’s the progression. He died. We confess. We die too—or, at least, we must be ready to die. The cross, then, is both the source and the shape of our salvation. We are meant to experience the victory of God through the same means and method as our savior.

Do not resist evil.

Whoever slaps you on one cheek, turn the other also.

Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.

Do good to those who hate you.

Bless those who curse you.

Pray for those who mistreat you.

Roar like a lion, but live like a lamb.

This changes everything.

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