Reflections on the 3rd chapter entitled
The Lion and the Lamb – The Excellence of Jesus Christ
by Pastor Kenny Burchard email me here
When we think of an “Ideal Human”
We all have our ideals when it comes to what we expect from others, and what we wish we could see in ourselves. Our failure to be what we wish we were, and our disappointment when others don’t live up to our expectations of them accounts for a lot of the brokenness we see in human relationships. We just can’t seem to blend the ideals in a way that is consistent, harmonious, or excellent (as Piper describes Jesus).
Two ideals that many people gravitate toward are (1) Strength, and (2) Gentleness. Piper’s emphasis on Jesus as a “lamb-like-lion” and a “lion-like-lamb” with all the symbolism and real-life attributes of lions and lambs is helpful. Especially since the combination of strength and gentleness tend to get warped in the fallen human identity.
It’s not unusual for the “strong” among us to be come oppressors who use their might to trample others under foot. And it’s not unusual for the gentle to succumb to cowardice or moral weakness in the face of pressure. To have strength and gentleness, power and humility, or even anger and forbearance harmonized in one human personality is difficult to find. But not in Jesus.
Jesus is the King (lion) who gives himself (lamb) on behalf of the subjects of his kingdom. He is the merciful one who offers forgiveness to the repentant (lamb), but who will purge the universe of all evil with fierce resolve (lion). He is justice (lion) and mercy (lamb) in one perfect man. The trouble for us is failing to let these two realities about Jesus co-exist in him without trampling, ignoring, or dismissing one over and against the other.
Some applications and insights
I found a section of Piper’s prayer at the end of this chapter particularly helpful, convicting, and comforting when he writes (prays…):
Oh how we need the whole Christ
Open our eyes to see the fulness of His excellence
Remove the lopsided distorted images of your son -
That weaken our worship and lame our obedience
As I said – it is this troubling tendency we have not to accept ALL of Jesus – all that he is, has, and does that gets us into trouble. This week I will be meditating on, and following Jesus as (both) LION and LAMB. But not only that, as Piper has helpfully hyphenated these co-existing, completely harmonized realities within the person of Jesus… the “Lamb-Like-Lion,” and the “Lion-Like-Lamb.”
May we serve him with joy at his generous grace (lamb), and with reverence and obedience to his Kingly-rule over our lives (lion).
1. What stuck out to you at your reading of this chapter?
2. What do you make of our tendency to develop a lop-sided image of Jesus? Why do we do this?
3. What other reflections, insights, or perspectives can you share with our group.
I enjoy reading with you, and learning to see more Jesus, and as we are learning in this chapter ALL OF JESUS leaving nothing out.