Friday, March 29, 2013

Lions Roar

The man-eating lions of Tsavo were the nightmare of 1898.  Natives believed the lions to be demon possessed as it was not typical for them to hunt in daylight nor to seek men as their prey. Colonel Patterson eventually shot and killed these lions but not without the loss of 140 people. 

On this Good Friday, I'm reminded of a lamb among lions.  A lamb does not have a chance against a hungry lion who rips its prey to pieces and then devours it.  Some 1,980 years ago, Jesus, the Lamb of God, was thrown to the lions, His body mangled, torn, and hung on a cross.  (John 1:29)  But it was more than just His body.  His dignity was humiliated, His power willingly restrained, and His love stretched beyond imagination.

When Pilate claimed the innocence of Jesus, a mighty roar rose from the crowd and with one voice they shouted, "Crucify Him ..."  (Luke 23:18) Again Pilate demanded they come up with a crime, anything against Him, and they could not.  The mob simply shouted louder and louder . . . unrelenting lions hungry for prey.

Satan thought he had won.  But this same Lamb of God is also the 'Lion of the Tribe of Judah', (Rev. 5:5) and the grave could not hold Him.  He came as a lamb but now reigns as King of all Kings.  He will soon return as a mighty lion to take what rightfully belongs to Him, and to judge the earth.  But in the meantime, we wage war against the copycat, Satan.  He "roams about the earth as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour."  (1 Pet. 5:8)

I remember well the one time I saw a lion in the wild.  My family was tucked away in the mountains at a remote cabin when we saw a deer tearing across the field at break neck speed.  Behind it was a streak of brown which could scarcely be identified except for that long tail and the tracks we found in its wake.  My four children were building forts in those same woods just the day prior.  That lion could easily devour any of them if it so desired.  Likewise, Satan is powerful and not one to be trifled with, yet "greater is He who is in me than He who is in the world." (1 John 4:4) 

When Daniel was thrown to the lions den, the angel of the LORD closed their mouths. (Dan. 6:22)  It's a familiar children's story, but have you ever thought about its significance?  Because Jesus was willing to be devoured by the lions, I don't have to be.  When those lions roar into my thoughts, accusing me of my sin, their mouths are shut.  God closes their mouths because "in Christ, there is now no condemnation."  (Rom. 8:1) 

Yet, for those who reject Jesus and refuse to admit their need of Him, the lions will devour and their place will be endless hell.  Though we might be nice people, nice does not earn us God's heaven.  Except for Jesus, we all fall short of the mark . . . and lions are no respecter of nice.  (Rom. 3:23)

But those who put their faith and trust in Jesus are declared righteous in God's sight, "for the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)  We are sons and daughters with whom God is well pleased because we have the favor of grace.  It covers us like a canopy, protecting from the wrath of God and from the terror of the copycat Satan as well.  We need not fear.  What a sweet place!  God yearns for relationship with us . . . this is why He died . . . and this is why the Friday before Easter, the day Jesus died on a cross, is called 'good'.

He's calling your name.  Will you have Him? 

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