The Lion and the Lamb

Judges 3:9-10 “But when the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the people of Israel, who saved them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. The Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the Lord gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand.”

How wonderful is the Word of God as it elucidates the many attributes of His only begotten Son. As the resurrected Jesus spoke to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, we are told that “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself (Luke 24:27).” In other words, Jesus explained to them the many ways in which the Old Testament spoke of Him, for at that time, the Old Testament was all the Bible they had. Have you ever thought about that? So often we think of the story of Jesus being given to us in the four gospels. However, this One Who created the universe and Who existed before the world began, is the subject of the Old Testament, just as He is the subject of the New. Therefore, it is a good idea as we read the Old Testament to pray that Jesus would open our eyes to what it tells us about Him.

One such Old Testament book is the book of Judges. In Judges we have the account of a series of men and women that God sent to deliver Israel from the hand of her enemies. One such judge, in fact the first one that is mentioned, is Othniel. The name Othniel (all the Hebrew proper names in Scripture have a meaning) means “Lion of God.” The enemy that Othniel defeated was named “Cushan-rishathaim,” a word that means “twice wicked or most malicious.” I’m reminded that one of the names for Jesus is the “lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5).” In this metaphor we see our Savior as the one Who is mighty, the great ruler over all the earth. He is the powerful Savior Who has defeated our greatest and most malicious enemies, namely, Satan, the greatest enemy of God; sin, of which he is the source; and death which is sin’s ultimate result. But how did He do this? How does this lion of the tribe of Judah vanquish the enemies of the people of God? How did the King of Kings and Lord of Lords defeat the works of the devil? It was not like men might think.

Each year, as we approach the time of Easter, we are reminded of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on what is known as Palm Sunday. The Jews at that time shouted out “Hosanna” (“oh, save!”) to this miracle worker. They expected Him to soon free them from the power of the Roman empire under which they had been so mistreated in Rome’s occupation of the Holy Land. But then, rather than vanquishing Israel with overwhelming force like an earthly king, we find Jesus immediately being “led as a lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7).” Here we see the paradox of the same One Who is called the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah” in Revelation 5:5, also appearing as a Lamb in Revelation 5:6. To the shock of even His closest followers, Jesus was seemingly overcome by His enemies to be slaughtered on a cross. But, you see, Jesus did conquer. He was the “Lion of God,” but He conquered man’s enemies by His sacrifice, for He was also “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)!”

What an awesome truth this is, that the Lion of God, the most powerful being in all the universe, gave His life for us as the Lamb of God, and in that death defeated sin, death, and Satan for all eternity. So, is this Othniel, the Lion of God, your deliverer? Have you accepted His sacrifice for your sin? You can, if you will, for this Lion of the tribe of Judah will be your king if you receive His awesome sacrifice as the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. But remember, Jesus said that “Whoever is not with me is against me (Matthew 12:30).” Do you really want to be against the Savior of the world?

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