Jesus, the Lion of Judah

Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:1-5)

Way back in history, as recorded in Genesis 49:8-12, Jacob, the patriarch of the twelve sons who became the leaders of the 12 tribes of Israel, prophesied about each of his sons right before his death.  When he spoke of his son Judah, he said this:

Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies;  your father’s sons will bow down to you.  You are a lion’s cub, O Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness-who dares to rouse him?  The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his. (Genesis 49-8-10)

Here he, Jacob, bequeaths to Judah the place of prominence among his brothers and predicts that from him will come the one who will rule over all Israel and indeed all nations in God’s kingdom.  Jesus, of course, was of the tribe of Judah and the family of David, the king of Israel from the tribe of Judah.  Judah is described by Jacob as a lion’s cub, a lion and an lioness in terms of his energy and ferocity.  Any enemies of Judah had better watch out.

So when John, the apostle begins to weep because there is no one to open the scroll of God’s judgment that must be poured out on all God’s enemies so that His people may be vindicated, John is told that the Lion of the Tribe of Judah is worthy to open this scroll because he has triumphed.  Jesus is the ultimate offspring of Judah, the most terrifying of lions from that tribe, worthy and capable of pouring out God’s judgment on the whole earth.

When John looks he does not see a lion but a lamb that has been slain.  Jesus became ready to bring judgment by dying as a sacrifice for all who look to him to escape judgment.  The way has been paved for all to find grace instead of justice.  No one has an excuse to say there was no way out of paying the penalty.  But no one who has failed to embrace the sacrificed Lamb will be able to escape the fierce Lion of Judah.

If you do not know Jesus as the Lamb slain for you, if you have not laid your sins on his head and received his forgiveness for your rebellion against God’s ownership of your life, you will know the ferocity of the Lion who crouches in readiness and who dares not be roused.  Come to the Lamb and find life, not judgment


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