The Lion of Judah
If you are a Christian, you may know that one of the titles for Jesus Christ presented in the Bible is “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5). Why do you suppose Jesus is represented as a lion? If you have a cat as a pet at home, you may be able to better understand what we are about to discuss.
Lions have been celebrated throughout history — and also in the Bible — for their strength and bravery (Proverbs 28:1). Lions have also been revered because their faces and glorious mane seem to have a uniquely regal and royal bearing, emoting a sense of kingly leadership and fearlessness (1 Chronicles 12:8). For this reason, lions have been called “the king of beasts”.
So, doesn’t that explain why Jesus is represented as a lion? Wasn’t He strong, brave, and fearless when He willingly died on the cross to take the punishment we deserve for our sins (Hebrews 12:2). Wasn’t He given kingly authority by His father after He rose from death on the third day? (Matthew 28:18). Isn’t He going to rule over all the earth as it’s king when He returns to earth in glory, as He promised? (Revelation 20:4). Yes, these things are no doubt part of the ‘Jesus-is-a-lion’ idea. But I believe there is something about lions that is even more important with regard to our understanding of what Jesus means to us.
Cats are solitary creatures. Cougars roam through the snow capped mountains of North America completely alone. Tigers slink through the Jungle Book rain forests of India by themselves, unseen. Leopards wait for prey in the trees of the African grasslands with no other member of their kind in sight. Even common house cats are legendary for their independence — which they maintain whether there are one, two, or three cats in the house!
But God created lions to be different. In fact, they are the only brand of cat on the entire planet that lives in groups — each group being a family called a “pride” of lions. A pride might be three males, a dozen females, and a whole slew of cubs. But there is always one leader, the head male lion who lords his presence over them all. His job is to defend their territory, which could be up to 100 square miles. His roar is like nothing else in the animal kingdom. It can be heard up to 5 miles away! And the job of the rest of the pride is to follow him, serve him, and allow him to become the father of more and more cubs that look just like him!
Do you see the comparison? If you believe in Jesus, you are never to be a solitary lone ranger Christian (Hebrews 10:25). You are to be a member of a church family (1 Corinthians 12:12). Your job is to follow Jesus (Mark 1:17), serve Him (Mark 10:44-45), and allow Him — through you — to bring more Christians into the world that look spiritually just like Him (Mathew 28:19). He is the defender of our faith (John 10:28), the one who’s voice we can always hear (John 10:27) and the King of us all (John 1:49)!
So, Jesus is our head lion, and we are all members of his pride. But because we belong to Him we can be lions in this life as well — fearless and victorious in His name! Do you believe that? I hope you do. Because the leader of a pride of lions has authority, the other members of that pride also have delegated authority that is respected within their territory — just ask any gazelle!
It should be the same with us. But don’t tell my 3 pet cats. No matter what I do or say, each one of them still always thinks that they are in charge!