Lion of Judah, Lamb of God
The Jewish people saw God as their ultimate King, and they yearned for the day when his ultimate rule would be established on the earth again. They kept looking for the Almighty to send the new Yehoshuah, who would overcome the rebellion against God’s ways, save his people from their captivity, and return the earth to the shalom peace and justice God intended.
The Jews lived many years under the thumb of foreign kings. They fondly remembered their great king, David, whose tribe, Judah, used a lion as their family crest. God had promised another, even greater king would come from David’s line, so the Jews were looking for “the Lion of Judah” to come deliver them, once and for all, from foreign oppression.
But the need for salvation runs deeper than our external circumstances. Humanity’s problem began with – and continues to be – our stubborn, self-seeking hearts. God had promised the people a great king, but he also had promised to change their minds and hearts. They would walk in his ways and live out his justice, because he would write his laws on their hearts.
God did send the Lion of Judah to deliver the people from oppression, but he also reached back even farther into Israel’s history for a type of rescuer who could deliver slaves from the captivity in their own hearts.
When the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, God sent a leader named Moses to demand that the king of Egypt set the people free. When Pharaoh refused, God sent a series of punishments on the country. When Pharaoh still refused to release his slaves, God sent an angel to strike dead the firstborn of every household. To protect the Israelites, Moses told them to offer God the sacrifice of a lamb and paint the doorpost of their homes with the lamb’s blood. The blood of the lamb would save those families from punishment. The angel of death would pass over their homes.
The Lion of Judah, sent by God to deliver the Jews from oppression, also was the Lamb of God, whose sacrifice could protect people from death and give them new minds and hearts.
The first Yehoshuah had led the children of Abraham to the Land of Promise, but they were unable to live there in shalom because of their stubborn, self-seeking hearts. The second Yehoshuah – Lion of Judah, Lamb of God – would give them new hearts and make it possible to live in shalom.
When Jesus – the second Yehoshuah – came, he announced good news to the people: The time has come for God to keep his promise! The Kingdom of God has arrived!
To enter God’s kingdom, Jesus called on the people to do two things: Turn from their sins and believe the good news.
Think about it
In what ways have you needed to be rescued from external circumstances?
How would that rescue be helped by God giving you a new heart?
Practical skills and life lessons in Tibet
Lujung Dhopa understands loneliness. Widowed at age 20 after her husband of six years died in a Himalayan snowstorm, the ethnic Tibetan woman had nowhere to turn. As one of the rare followers of Jesus – fewer than 2 percent of ethnic Tibetans identify themselves as Christian – Lujung felt God’s presence through the early days of her grief. “With my God, I cried to my God. I talked to my God. My God stayed with me,” she says. Click here to read more.
Next chapter: Turn from your sins’