THE LION AND THE LAMB
Rev. 5:5-6 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” ¶ And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth
I recently reread my favorite sermon of all, “The Excellency of Christ” by Jonathan Edwards. The first time I read it was on a long plane flight across the Pacific Ocean. Needless to say, I wept until I had no more tears. That message takes a long look at the vision of the lion and the lamb in the book of revelation. In it, Edwards unfolds what I like to call the diverse excellencies of Jesus Christ. He speaks of His glory and His humility, His sovereignty and His dependency, His eternal power and incredible weakness seen in His humanity. He is the lion and the lamb. Here is a short excerpt from the introduction of Edwards’ sermon.
“John was told of a lion that had prevailed to open the book, and probably expected to see a lion in his vision; but while he is expecting, behold a lamb appears to open the book, an exceeding diverse kind of creature from a lion! A lion is a devourer, one that is wont to make terrible slaughter of others; and no creature more easily falls a prey to him than a lamb. And Christ is here represented not only as a lamb, a creature very liable to be slain, but a “Lamb as it had been slain,” that is, with the marks of its deadly wounds appearing on it. The lion and the lamb, though very diverse kinds of creatures, yet have each their peculiar excellencies. The lion excels in strength, and in the majesty of his appearance and voice. The lamb excels in meekness and patience, besides the excellent nature of the creature as good for food, and yielding that which is fit for our clothing, and being suitable to be offered in sacrifice to God. But we see that Christ is in the text compared to both; because the diverse excellencies of both wonderfully meet in him.”
If you really think about it, there was no other way for us to come to God. We needed a holy representative from our fallen race. The problem was this, that person didn’t exist. There was only One who was holy and our only chance was for Him to become one of us. He stripped Himself of His rights as God and took upon Himself human flesh. The lion became a lamb. Today in heaven those diverse excellencies are still seen. The Lion is ruling the universe by the word of His power, the Lamb is comforting His sons and daughters as they are welcomed into His arms.