Friday, July 9, 2010

Lamb or Lion?

So many Christians look at Jesus as the all-conquering King of their lives, which He is. However many fail to recognize that Jesus had another role that He fulfilled while on the Earth. Jesus had two roles to play in history, His first appearance was as the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29).

The second role will be fulfilled when Christ returns as the Lion of God who comes to judge the world (Rev 5:5). The roles like the animals that represent them are symbolic of the different ways God acts toward His children.

It is said that many Jewish people at the time of Christ thought that there were going to be two Messiahs. The reason for this is that the Old Testament speaks about the coming King in two ways.

First, it refers to Him as the suffering servant of Israel. This is highlighted in the passages from Isaiah (42:1-9, 49:1-6, 50:4-11, 52:13-53:12). This parallels the account given in the Gospels of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Second the Old Testament talks about a coming king as the all-conquering King of Israel who will come to deal with their enemies and bring a time of great prosperity for the nation. (2 Samuel 7:16, Jer. 23:5-6, Zech. 14:5-17, etc).

The point here is that the Jews were right and wrong at the same time. The passages do describe the Messiah (Jesus) in different ways, but they were not describing different people; they were describing the same person in different roles.

When Jesus came to the earth two thousand years ago, He came for one purpose and one purpose only, to reconcile mankind back to God. This first coming of the Lord dealt with the spiritual problem of mankind (Matthew 18:11).

The return of Christ will see the Lord deal with the final spiritual problems of mankind but also the physical circumstantial ones. The primary purpose of the cross was not to remove suffering from our lives, but to provide a way for people to be redeemed back to God and give us victory over sin.

The Jews wanted their Messiah and King to conquer their Roman oppressors and remove all the suffering from their lives. They were imagining a return to the days of King Solomon where silver was a common as wood and the nation and all its inhabitants lived in the lap of luxury.

However, the Lord was much more concerned with the problem of sin and the atonement that needed to be made to free Israel and all the people from the bondage of sin. This is why the Jews did not recognize Christ; they were looking at Jesus with human expectations of what the Messiah should be and do, whereas God sent his Son to fulfill the role of the Messiah according to divine perspective. God is more interested in our character than our comforts.

Jesus came to save us from our sins, not to save us from our suffering. In fact Jesus suffered extensively while He was here on earth and the apostles followed in His footsteps. All of the apostles except for John were martyred and the early church suffered horrendous persecution. Even Christians today are suffering from persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ in North Korea, China and even the Middle East.

The Roman Emperor Nero dipped Christians in hot tar and then put them up on poles. He would have the poles with believers attached set alight and he would use these poor saints as human lanterns at his parties.

If we gladly accept the blessing that comes from following Christ the all-conquering King, we must also accept the hardship that is allowed in our lives by Jesus the Suffering Servant. We must always remember the cross comes before the crown!

For a great book resource on Those Who Suffer, click on my review link below:


Denise said...

Amen sis.

Billy Coffey said...

Wise words, Kat. Very wise words.

Warren Baldwin said...

Very good discussion of the roles of the Messiah.

KrippledWarrior said...

I have some great Bible school teachers here in Blogville. Thank you for being one of them.

Terra said...

These words are a grand reminder, and I recall Aslan being described as "He is not a tame lion", which I always liked. Did you see I posted a lion photo a couple days ago? Great minds think alike LOL.

David C Brown said...

It's the Lamb that is emphasised, isn't it? Even in the Revelation He is mainly known as the Lamb.

So it is only right that the Lamb's wife should take her place with the one who suffered.