Rush Limbaugh mentioned “Tiger King” — the Netflix series that’s currently number one with viewers on the network. He watched one episode, labeled it a “train wreck” and decided not to finish. However, another radio titan, Glenn Beck, said he was hooked until the end.
The program is about American zoos who keep and breed “great cats.” The series reveals that some raise these animals at home. The policy of our neighborhood association doesn’t expressly prohibit this, though the city in which we live requires animals to be on leashes. I surmise this would preclude a pet lion or tiger!
I remember reading in a Tarzan series about the adult lion, weighing 500 pounds, having the force of a sledgehammer in his paws. It’s hard to imagine keeping such a powerful animal at home.
Young David in the Valley of Elah explained to King Saul how he’d killed a lion to protect his flock. David became the king of Israel, and the Old Testament prophets foretold another man of power from his lineage to rule God’s eternal kingdom. John the revelator once described Jesus as “the lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5). John’s word teaches two things: Jesus came in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, and as the lion, represents the power of God.
Though Jesus was reluctant to demonstrate power to make people believe in him, he nevertheless used his power. The disciples saw him heal the demoniac, still the raging sea and feed 5,000 people with a little boy’s lunch. He submitted to the cruelty of men during Passion week though he could have commanded 12 legions of angels to free him from captivity. The Apostle Paul said one day the risen Christ will confront the ultimate evil world ruler and destroy him with “the breath of his lips” (2 Thessalonians 2: 8).
It’s entirely appropriate for John to call Jesus the lion of Judah. He represents the power of God.
But John most often called Jesus the lamb of God, using this title 24 times in Revelation. This analogy underscores Jesus’s mission 2,000 ago. The power of God was his birthright, to be sure, but he also came as the sacrificial lamb who takes away the sin of the world.
This week the world remembers that final week before the cross. We think of the fickleness of humanity who cried “Hosanna” on Palm Sunday and “crucify him” on Good Friday. Jesus prayed that the awful burden of the cross be removed, but he also prayed to be obedient to God’s salvation plan.
The lamb of God provided a remedy for sin and promised the gift of eternal life to those who follow him.
Hallelujah. What a savior.
Reflections is a weekly devotional column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster. The church's website is siluriabaptist.com.