The impact of the contrast never fades. The wonder at reading the two put side by side and beheld in but one Person is jaw-dropping, again. No wonder everything in heaven goes facedown as they behold the Lion and the Lamb.
And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that He can open the scroll and its seven seals.” And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, . . .
(Revelation 5:5-6a ESV)
Look at the Lion, they said. I saw a Lamb.
Look, they said, at the Root of David. Not just the One who is heir to the promised throne, but the One who existed before the throne and is Himself the throne’s origin. And I beheld a Lamb as though it had been slain.
Pause. Be still. Chew on that. Jaw-dropping.
Oh, how easy it is for us to “tame” Jesus. To put Him in a predictable box of own dimensions. But what is it that He is both the Lion and the Lamb? The Ruler and the Ransomer.
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the scroll and to open its seals, for You were slain, and by Your blood You ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation . . . ”
(Revelation 5:9 ESV)
The Ruler over all the earth worthy to take the scroll that will serve to judge the earth. But also He who was slain, His blood the ransom for all people so that no one should come under condemnation.
The Lion and the Lamb. How do you reconcile two portrayals of the same Person which seem so mutually exclusive? How do you bring the two of them together?
Okay, I’m probably stepping off an interpretive cliff here, but as I chew on these things a verse comes to mind that also speaks of a lion and a lamb. So I go there, perhaps for a clue. And in it I find a common denominator.
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together and a little child shall lead them.
(Isaiah 11:6 ESV)
Here is another picture of the coexistence between a lion and a lamb. An edenic reality of predator and prey together. A peace-laden picture of might and meekness in complete harmony and alignment. And at the center of it all? A little child.
A child. That’s what brings the lion and the lamb together.
Let the advent countdown begin in anticipation of the celebration of the birth of a Child. The Ruler of all heaven and earth, “who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Php. 2:6). And found in the likeness of men, was revealed by the Spirit to be “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29).
Behold the Lion. Behold the Lamb. Behold a Child, the common denominator.
O come let us adore Him!
By His grace. For His glory.