From the March issue of The Community, the newsletter of The Methodist Church in Milan:
It’s not very windy in Milan, but there is a weather saying in other countries about the month of March – ‘in like a lion, out like a lamb’. The proverb suggests that March often begins with stormy, windy and ever-changing weather (lion) and then ends with calmer conditions (lamb) as April approaches. The March theme of the lion and the lamb is a favorite one for elementary school teachers, and I can remember making images of lions and lambs in art class every spring when I was a kid.
Although the lion and the lamb have very different characteristics, both images are used to describe Jesus Christ. The image of the lion is associated with royalty. In Revelation 19:16, Jesus is described as the King of Kings. Jesus is also associated with the phrase, ‘Lion of Judah’, which appears in Revelation 5:5: ‘Do not weep. See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered’. Many Christian organizations use the image of the Lion of Judah as their emblem, and in C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicle of Narnia, Aslan the Lion is a character representing Christ.
The image of the lamb is even more closely associated with Christ. In John 1:29, John the Baptist proclaims regarding Jesus: ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’ The image of the lamb is one of innocence, and reminds us that Jesus was without sin. The lamb was also used in Hebrew religion as an offering to God, especially during the Passover. This sacrifice had to be done over and over again. The phrase, Lamb of God, refers to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, which also took place during the Passover season. However, as the writer of Hebrews says, Jesus’ sacrifice was done once and for all (see chapters 9 and 10). The image of Jesus as the Lamb of God is also used throughout the book of Revelation.
The season of Lent, which includes the entire month of March, is a journey with Jesus to Jerusalem. As we prepare ourselves for his death and resurrection, take time to think about these different images of the lion and the lamb. Jesus is the Lion of Judah, the King of Kings. Jesus is also the Lamb of God, who comes to take away the sins of the world.
Different images of the same God. But unlike the month of March, which is known for its changing weather, God’s love and mercy are constant and steadfast.
Jesus Christ is the ‘same today, yesterday and forever’ (Hebrews 13:8). Amen.