Lion of Judah'

Friday Reflection

20th November 2020

'He will bring us home'

 And one of the elders
 said to me,
"Weep no more;
 the Lion of the tribe of Judah,
 the Root of David,
 has conquered,
 so that he can
 open the scroll
 and its seven seals."

.... Revelation 5:5

Vincent Donovan
is a Roman Catholic priest
from the United States.
Born in 1926,
he was ordained in 1952
and was a missionary to
the Masai in Tanzania
for 17 years
during the 1960s and 70s.

In his book
Christianity Rediscovered
he tells of his life amongst
this tough nomadic tribe who,
although they were not hunters,
would kill to protect
their cattle from lions
using only a hand spear.

He was challenged to
cut through Western Christian
assumptions and make Christ
relevant to the Masai
through their own
lifestyle and culture.

He found problems
with language -
the word he used for
'to believe'
really meant
'to agree to'.

One day a Masai elder
told him that the word
was ' a hunter shooting
an animal from a great distance -
really only his fingers
and eyes took part
in the act.

For a man to really believe
is like a lion
going after its prey.
It's nose, eyes and ears
pick out the prey.

His legs give him
the speed to catch it.
All the power is
involved in the death leap
and as the animal goes down
the lion envelops
it in its arms ...
and makes it part of itself.'

This is what faith is,
the elder went on,
'You told us of the High God,
how we must search for him ...
But we have not done this ...
he has searched us out
and found us.

All the time
we think we are the lion,
but in the end,
the lion is God.'

The lion image,
like the lion itself,
is both beautiful
and dangerous.

It pictures God's
total involvement
in seeking us,
taking us to himself.

It also tells us that
faith is God's gift,
and our response cannot be
a lukewarm agreement
from afar,
but a deep commitment.

Like all parables, though,
we must not take it too literally.

The initiative is God's,
but we are not his prey;
we are his people.
'In the end the lion is God.'

Jesus is the Lion of Judah;
this is true;
it was prophesied
in the Old Testament;
but his gift
is not death
but life,
resurrection life.

In Genesis 49:8-12,
it tells us

that this
descendant of Judah
will be praised by all;
He will be as a lion.
He will be one
who rules over all peoples
and crush his enemies.
He will be one to whom
all his brothers
bow down and fear.
His kingdom is
an eternal kingdom.
And there will be none
capable or worthy
to challenge his throne.
One day all nations
will bring tribute
and worship before him
and he is one
to whom all
the nations
owe obedience.

Psalm 45:6-7. points to
the Anointed One
who rightly deserves
the praise
and obedience of all nations

6 Your throne, O God,
   will last for ever and ever;
   a sceptre of justice
   will be the sceptre
   of your kingdom.
7 You love righteousness
   and hate wickedness;
   therefore God,
   your God,
   has set you above
   your companions by
   anointing you with
   the oil of joy. NIV

This Anointed One,
the lion of tribe of Judah,
will return,
to bring to fulfilment
all the promises
of Scripture.

When life gets hard,
and when we feel weak,
and when it feels like
it's more than we can bear,
we have a lion to lean on:
The Lion of Judah,
who has conquered.
He will hold us fast.
He will keep us safe.
He will bring us home
to his Father.