It’s Passion Week, and I’ve been thinking about lions.

Sometimes when I read the Bible I go on a bit of a rabbit trail. . . .

(This time I think it was a lion trail.)

Does that ever happen to you?

And sometimes, when I do that, I gain a clearer picture of who Jesus really is.

So, here’s how this one went. . . .

I was reading in Philippians 2 about how our Lord Jesus humbled Himself to the death of the cross, so God highly exalted Him.

That made me think about I Peter 5:6-9. It says,

“Humble yourselves, therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time . . .”

Of course I knew this passage applies to us, but this time I thought about how that “you” in 1 Peter 5 was true of Jesus as well.

“Interesting,” I thought. “Let’s follow this trail.” Jesus humbled Himself. He was exalted.

So then I read the whole passage in I Peter as if it were about Jesus. He went before us, and except for confessing sin, etc, He modeled everything in life for us.

“ . . . casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 

Didn’t Jesus always cast all His care on His Father?

“Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, like a roaring lion walks about, seeking whom he may devour; . . .”

Didn’t He stand sober and vigilant against His adversary? Didn’t He resist that adversary steadfast in the faith?

And what about that lion? I looked up some old notes of mine from a time I had studied 1 Peter. At 1 Peter 5:6-9 I had written,

“I went through the time of the roaring lion trying to devour my soul.”

And again, another time,

“I have been in the presence of the roaring lion for an extended period, more than ever before in my life. It emphasized to me the importance of that sobriety and watchfulness of spirit in this passage.”

That roaring lion had definitely been present in my life.

And so it was in the life of Jesus. Especially as He went to the cross, the lion roared. Roared to split the earth in two.

“ . . . whom resist steadfast in the faith . . .” 

He stood against that enemy. He resisted him.

“ . . . knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” 

Certainly Jesus knew that his brothers all over the world would also be facing off with the enemy, in His strength. They would also face persecution. They would die for His sake.

Then that triggered a memory of another Scripture, Psalm 22, the perfect psalm for Passion Week.

The words were at the end of the psalm:

“I will declare your name to my brothers, praising You in the midst of the great congregation.”

Psalm 22 begins with one word from the cross, ends with another word from the cross, and in between describes everything that was going in Jesus’ heart . . . in between. All the agony. All the terror, agony, and shame, and eventually, the triumph. (I wrote about this Psalm at length in Untwisting Scriptures #3.)

And look there in Psalm 22! There was that roaring lion again. Not once, but twice. My lion trail continued.

“They gaped upon me with their mouths, like a ravening and a roaring lion.”

 “Save me from the lion’s mouth.”

I saw it. In His death, my Savior experienced the roaring of the lion. Going before me even in this.

In the death of Christ, the lion roared. The lion roared, as if he had gotten the victory.

But through the very thing that he thought had gained him the victory-—the bloody death of Christ—he was trounced.  And then came the triumphant resurrection of Christ, delivering the death blow to that lion.

In the suffering of Christians too, that lion roars. Always looking for some victory, trying to devour some believer—even in his death throes.

But ultimately he will be forever defeated, in the very thing in which he thinks to gain the victory, as suffering believers resist him steadfast in the faith.

Even in the middle of that suffering, the work of God is accomplished.

So we remember even when the battle is fierce, that in Christ, we are completely victorious.

Because that lion has already been defeated.

Passion Week and always, the lion roars in vain.

Happy Resurrection Day.





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