In my studying the book of Revelation, I have been impressed with the image given to us by John of Jesus as both the Lion of Judah and the lamb of God. In Rev 5:5-6 we read, “Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’ Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain…..'”
N. T. Wright commenting on this passage, notes, “….now we come to one of the most decisive moments in all scripture. What John has heard is the announcement of the lion. What he then sees is the lamb. He is to hold what he has heard in his head while gazing at what he now sees; and he is to hold what he is seeing in his head as he reflects on what he has heard.”
Wright goes on to say, “The lion is the symbol both of ultimate power and of supreme royalty, while the lamb symbolizes both gentle and vulnerability, and through its sacrifice, the ultimate weakness of death. But the two are now to be fused together, completely and for ever.”
In the rest of Revelation Jesus is continually referred to as the Lamb. What we read is counter-intuitive to our modern sensitivities. When the first four seals are broken to loose the four men of the Apocalypse, it is the Lamb who opens the seals. Then the enemies of God cry out, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (6:16-17). In the final battle with the enemies of God, we read, “They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and king of kings – and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers” (17:14).
Men, receive what I am about to affirm in you. If you know Jesus as your Lord, you have the Spirit of the Lion and the Lamb within you. “This is how we know we’re living steadily and deeply in him, and he in us: He’s given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit… Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God”(I John 4:13,15 – Message).
I almost am tempted to change the title of my blog site for men to that of “The Lion and the Lamb.” Why? Because this seemingly contradictory reality was lived out perfectly in the life of Jesus. Now that reality can live our own hearts because we have been giving the very spirit of God. “We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit”( I John 5:13).
The reality of the Lion and the Lamb in our hearts, solves the tension between being tough and tender. We can be sensitive, submissive, and humble, while still being strong, bold and courageous as a lion.
So my encouragement to you is to allow yourself to be filled with the Spirit of God. Continually ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, so that you might know when to be a lamb and when to be a lion. It will take discernment.